A key driver in effective personal leadership style is the discovery, refinement and embodiment of your core values. Knowing your values gives you distinct guideposts in making decisions and taking actions towards your goals. It’s likely you can list off several of your values one, two, three. I am going to suggest, however, there is a difference between knowing your core values and actually making decisions, taking actions and interacting with others in a way that demonstrates these values regularly and without conscious thought.
In other words, are you walking your talk?
Those that move throughout their day in step with their core values excel in leading themselves (and others) in their personal and professional lives. In this post I offer a fun, heroes based exercise which can be used as a check-in for established leaders and a jumping off point for new/emerging leaders to uncover the roots to their personal leadership style.
Connect with your heroes
We connect and resonate with our heroes/heroines because we admire their words of wisdom, unique or precedent setting accomplishments and tireless efforts poured into fighting for what they believe in. We are affected emotionally in deep and meaningful ways for a reason. We associate ourselves with the value system behind the words and actions of these great leaders. Who we admire and aspire to be gives us a window into our deeper selves.
Let’s take a look:
- Take a moment to think about your heroes. Who are the people you look up to? Who do admire and respect? Your heroes can be anyone from Mother Teresa to your next-door neighbor. Write down this list of people. I recommend keeping it to five.
- For each person or figure, write out what you love about each of them and why. What is special that makes them your heroes? What morals, scruples or values do they have made you put them on the list?
- Take another sheet of paper and divide it in half. On one side, compile your list of hero/heroine values and traits.
- On the other half of the paper, make a check mark by those ideals you feel you have at this moment.
- You now have list of values you embody and a list of ideals that represent personal leadership growth areas for you to incorporate into your personal and professional life.
Lead with integrity
Leaders should always be on their learning edges, pushing, exploring and risking. They should always be molding themselves into the person they want to be. By living in a way that consistently demonstrates your personal leadership via your values, you will more easily develop the leader in you and those around you. After all, isn’t that part of being a successful leader?
image of John Muir courtesy: cliff1066