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Becoming a Holistic Leader: Personal Principles – The Guiding Light

May 2, 2011

It’s been almost a year and half since I released my ebook: Becoming a Holistic Leader: Strategies for Successful Leadership Using a Principle-Based Approach.

I felt it was time to update and reorganize it. So I’ve just released my second edition, which is a free download.

Today, I’m sharing with you an abbreviated excerpt from the chapter on Personal Principles – the Guiding Light. I’ll share highlights of other sections of the book each day for the rest of the week.

But be sure to download the book and take a moment to leave a comment on my blog….Jim

For an organization to progress to a higher state of thinking and doing on leadership, so that it eventually becomes a natural way of how people demonstrate their own leadership, a guiding set of principles is a helpful way in which to get pointed in the right direction.

When the waters get rough, having a set of personal principles will make that period less chaotic for each of us. If we wish to avoid getting caught in the trap of poor leadership practices, a set of guiding principles will serve as our guidepost. They’re especially helpful when we face turmoil in our lives, whether at work, home or in our communities. By working continually to staying true to these principles, we’ll be better able to remain centered and focused when leading.

1) I own my morale and attitude.
No one but me determines whether I’m happy with my job. If I don’t like my work environment, then it’s up to me to empower myself to either improve my work situation or to seek opportunities elsewhere.

2) I communicate in a clear and honest way.
When I speak to my co-workers, staff, clients and stakeholders, I ensure that I am unambiguous and forthright. If I’m in a position to give performance reviews, then I do so in an honest, constructive way that promotes improvement. Finally, when I communicate to my superiors I speak truth to power, never sugar-coating issues or manipulating information for my own gain.

3) I share the information I have access to openly and without reservation.
Protecting my turf is something to which I abstain. I refuse to be a gatekeeper of information and share what I learn. Instead I work across organizational boundaries, promoting collaboration and information sharing. I am transparent in my actions and beliefs.

4) I embrace lifelong learning and encourage the same in my co-workers.
Whether it is being a coach, mentor or mentee, I continually strive to learn new ideas and how to apply them and to share them with my co-workers. I never arrive for I am on a lifelong journey.

5) I am humble in my interactions with others.
There are always others who possess more knowledge and capability than I. I have much to learn from these individuals and welcome their wisdom. There are many unknowns of which I am unaware.

6) I have the backs of my co-workers and staff.
Protecting those I care about and respect is central to my being. I don’t tolerate others talking about my co-workers and friends behind their backs. If I’m serving in a managerial position, I stand behind my staff during times of difficulty; I never sell them out for my own gain.

7) I share leadership unreservedly.
Knowing when to step back and let someone else lead is something I accept without reservation. I know when to check my ego. And I understand that when leadership is shared throughout the organization that an incredible power of creativity and energy is unleashed.

8) Be open to outcome.
We live in a world where uncertainty and discontinuous change are the new normal. There will be many Black Swans of change. I accept this and remain open to change, the challenges and opportunities it presents, and the dance of life.

9) I know how to take a joke.
Being able to poke fun at myself, especially when it comes to acknowledging mistakes, is something of which I’m not afraid; I learn from such experiences. And I know never to make fun of others at their expense.

10) I am a custodian of Earth and am environmentally responsible.
Stewardship is a vital tenet of who I am as a human being. I’m here for a brief period–a nano-second in time. But during this short interlude, I act responsibly in my interactions with Planet Earth and its inhabitants.

Questions for Reflection:

a) Think about some great leaders you’ve worked for or seen in action. What appeared to be their strongest principles in how they led others?

b) What principles do you want to guide you in exercising your leadership?

c) What aspects of yourself will you start to change, based on these principles?

d) Ask yourself at the end of each day: “What actions did I take, or not take, that showed my commitment to these principles?

e) What will I do differently tomorrow?

Click here to download my new Holistic Leadership eBook, 2nd Edition


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