Your Leadership Point of View
Most successful business leaders share two common traits: 1) They have a clear point of view about their subject matter, and 2) they have the self-confidence to share it freely with others. But how many business executives can say they’ve developed and shared their leadership point of view? How many have given serious thought to how they define leadership values or beliefs?
Establishing and sharing your leadership point of view is one of the most powerful declarations you can make as a leader. Your leadership point of view is your own personal interpretation of the leader’s responsibilities. It tells others you have given a lot of thought to your role, and that you have created solid principles to guide your leadership practices. Ask yourself: Do people know my leadership philosophy? Do they know the values I live by when leading others? Do they know how I view my role? Answering these questions will give you the confidence to prepare and share your thoughts on leadership with any audience, at any time. Here are three simple ways to develop your leadership point of view.
What’s Your Definition of Leadership? Start by writing your definition of the word itself. How do you define leadership? There are many possible definitions of leadership, but it’s important that you create, polish and share your own version. What does this word mean to you? How would you describe leadership to someone who is interested in becoming a manager for the first time? Does your definition match your management style? It is hard to get good at something if you can’t describe it…so work on creating a simple definition that you can memorize and share with others. Here’s an example: Leadership is about creating a vision that others want to be part of, building a positive environment where great things can happen, and developing people to reach their full potential. No matter how you write it, establishing your leadership point of view starts with declaring your interpretation of the word leader or leadership. Don’t be caught short if someone asks what leadership means to you… have a position and be ready to share it.
What are your Leadership principles? Next, reflect on how you lead. What are the core principles you follow when leading people? What are the values that form the foundation of your leadership style? In my coaching practice, I ask clients to write the 10 leadership principles that represent the “rules” they live by when leading their teams. I ask them to think about the leadership tenants they would never violate, because they are such an integral part of their overall leadership philosophy.
What’s Your Primary Contribution? Finally, give some thought to this simple question. How would you best describe your contribution to the company? Don’t think of your job title or annual goals when answering this question. Think more broadly, and try to get to the essence of why you are in this role. Be creative and bold – what are they really paying you for? If you lead people, it’s probably going to be something about maximizing talent, or building a high performing team, or paving the way for people to accomplish amazing results.
By now you have figured out that it’s not enough to just complete these three exercises… you need to share them with your team, as well. Spend time thinking about leadership and how you want to execute the role, and then declare your intentions. Let people know how you feel about leadership, and give them a sense of how you will lead. Not only you will create transparency for your team, but you’ll raise your own expectations for leadership as you strive to honor the definition, principles and contribution you have set for yourself.