Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Leadership Values

I compiled this list of leadership values over the course of my career.  None of it is profound and all of it I have taken from others who have influenced my life.  I share this list with my team each time I join a new organization.  It helps frame the perspective from which I will operate and it lets the team know what will be expected of them.  I hope you find this of value in your work.

1.   Leadership is lonely.  Sometimes you will make people angry.
2.   If you believe in people, you believe in safety & diversity.
3.   Lead by example.  People see what you do more clearly than they hear what you say.
4.   Don’t mold yourself to the latest fads and buzzwords.  Mold yourself to your beliefs, your values and your convictions.

5.   Every decision has systemic implications beyond your field of vision.  Understand that, and know there will be unexpected tradeoffs.

6.   Take the time to explain your decisions to the people who work for you.  Explaining does not mean justifying.  You need to build perspective so people can take ownership.

7.   Give people the tools and the assistance necessary to do their jobs.  Let each situation dictate your involvement and what is necessary to accomplish the team’s mission.

8.   Let people make decisions and mistakes.  Help them learn from their mistakes.

9.   If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on.  Don’t dwell in the past, don’t hold grudges, and don’t make the same mistake twice.

10.  Sharing a problem is not a sign of weakness or failure, but a sign of mutual confidence.

11.  Don’t blame your problems on others.  Take ownership and search for creative solutions.  Over time, people will recognize the character of a leader and a winner.

12.  Bad news gets worse with time.  Don’t wait until it is too late to make a difference.

13.  Good news should be shared, achievements praised and proper credit given to those who deserve it.

14.  Your success as a leader will be measured by the legacy of the people you leave behind.

15.  Fight for your people.  Earn their loyalty and their respect.

16.  Loyalty means when an issue is open for debate, giving your honest opinion, whether the leader agrees or not.  Disagreement at this stage is stimulating.  However, once a decision is made, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.

17.  If you don’t understand, ask.  If you still don’t understand, ask again.  If you still don’t understand, ask again.  There may be a problem with the speaker rather than with the listener.  Don’t ever let the phrase “I didn’t understand” be the reason for failure.

18.  Share.  Your success is dependent on the success of the whole.  Isolationism doesn’t work.

19.  Winning is not the most important thing.  What is important is doing everything within your power to ensure success.  In the end, you must be able to look yourself in the mirror with honor, pride and integrity.

20.  Although winning isn’t everything, not everybody feels that way.  Understand the world looks at the win/loss column.  Results count.

21.  Your career is to be enjoyed, not endured.  Have fun at work.  Don’t always run at maximum speed.  Take time off when you’ve earned it.  Spend time with your family.  Weekends and holidays were made to be taken.  Don’t use them as a dumping ground for your inefficiencies.