Successful leaders become so through a set of beliefs, convictions and practices that developed over time become the core of their leadership philosophy. These deeply held beliefs form our leadership culture and provide stability for those we lead as they learn that they can rely on us to act consistently and predictions in alignment with on those convictions and practices.
Those in the organization I lead will recognize certain phrases which reflect my leadership philosophy. “Do not underestimate my resolve” indicates that we will chase after those things we are passionate about. There is no flavor of the month but a true north that guides all that we do. Our convictions are not optional. “Nothing to prove and nothing to lose” allows us to live with humility and not need to be right. “We engage in robust dialogue” gives us permission to speak with candor and honesty as long as there are no hidden agendas or personal attacks. “Autopsy without blame,” gives us permission to try new things and even fail and then talk about it without assigning blame.
Just as leaders do not like surprises, nor do those they lead. Unpredictable leaders create uncertainty in those they lead while predictable leaders provide stability based on certain foundational and widely known values which when lived out by leaders become a corporate culture. When leaders hear those same values articulated by other leaders in the organization, they know they are successfully creating a common culture.
This means that leaders must be articulate and communicate their values constantly. The test of how well we are doing this is whether those in our organizations can explain our leadership practices and beliefs. If staff cannot describe the belief system of their leaders they have not done a good job of articulating their convictions. Communicating those beliefs and principles often and in a way that can be remembered is critical. Consistent practice of those beliefs and practices is even more important. It also means that we must be careful about what beliefs and values we communicate because they do become the culture of the organization – so ensuring we have the right values is essential.
How would you articulate the beliefs and convictions that guide you as a leader? Could those you lead articulate those beliefs and convictions?