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The Importance of Having a Personal Leadership Philosophy

Source | LinkedIn | Steven Howard | Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders — Leadership Coach | Facilitator | Author

One foundation of great leaders is having and understanding their own leadership mindset philosophy — a set of beliefs, values, and personal rules related to the kind of leader they aspire to.

This foundation will drive the workplace environment and culture of the team the leader leads, whether this is a four-person department or a multinational company with hundreds of thousands of employees. Great leaders can be found at all levels of organizations, not just in the C-suite.

A written personal leadership philosophy is an important distinction between good leaders and great leaders. Great leaders have a written personal leadership philosophy. Good leaders do not.

A leadership philosophy is a set of beliefs and principles that strongly influences how you interpret reality. It guides how you react to people, event, and situations. Research has shown that consistent leadership behavior and actions require a clear personal leadership philosophy.

A written leadership philosophy also lets team members and others know what you expect, what you value, and how you will act in any given situation. This helps to make your workplace environment less stressful and more productive, as well as keeping you on track and aligned with your core beliefs and values.

Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic in Japan, is known in that country as the “god of management” for his writings and speeches on leadership and management. He wrote, “If you are a leader, you must have an ideology of leadership. If you lack an ideology, and attempt to decide everything on a case-by-case basis, you will never be capable of strong leadership.”

It is critical that leaders gain clarity about their own leadership philosophy, style, and behavior. When I coach leaders, this is one of the first places we begin to discuss in detail.

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