How to Build a Leadership Credo
What’s your leadership credo? Have you ever sat down to really think about your deepest beliefs and core values?
It’s so easy to just get through your day, without really thinking about how you lead and why. Days become months and months become years. Pressures, grooming, and politics all create counter-pressures to authenticity.
Articulating what you value, helps you to stay true to what you believe.
Every year, I take time out to work on my leadership credo– to reflect on what I believe and how this is translating into behaviors. Then, during good and bad times, I pull it out and see how I’m doing. Am I staying true to what I say I believe?
For the first time this week, I formalized the process and shared it with a group of leaders representing over 10 countries and a cross-section of industries. Today, I share the easy-to-implement process.
1. Set up
This exercise pairs well with a discussion on leadership authenticity. It can easily be done in a team meeting, an offsite, or in a classroom. It works great in my MBA classes.
Encourage participants to use a combination of words, pictures, and any other creative sparks to articulate their credo (can be done as a “homework” assignment). Encourage participants to be as creative as they possible and to limit their work to one page (the definition of a page may vary based on the medium). Each credo should include the following components:
- Core leadership values (e.g. integrity, transparency)
- Operating principles (e.g. develop strong peer relationships)
- Desired outcomes (“As a result of my leadership this year_______”)
3. Gallery Walk
Provide each participant with 6 dot stickers for “voting” (3 yellow and 3 blue). Have each team member walk around the room and share their credos with one another. Give them enough time and space to really listen to one another’s point of view and to identify similarities and differences. When they are struck by the message or creativity of a particular credo, they can recognize their colleague with a yellow dot for the depth of thinking or a blue dot for creativity. You can reward the most dots in several creative ways.
Debrief the themes and process with the group. For highlights of the themes and for examples of the creative credos watch the video summary. Let’s have some Monday fun. Share the most important aspects of your leadership credo.
For more easy-to-implement leadership tools and techniques check out our book Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results–Without Losing Your Soul.