My Leadership Philosophy

To know someone's leadership philosophy is to understand who they are at their core. It's a glimpse into their soul and a means of evaluating whether their values and approach align with yours.
 
I invite you to explore my personal leadership philosophy below. And if you don't have a written philosophy of your own, I invite you to reflect on who you are as a leader and how you want to show up and shine for others.
 
Who I am as a leader has grown and evolved over time. My previous reactive approach has been replaced by deliberate intention, making space for an elevated leadership style to evolve.
 
Where experience, education, and understanding collided is where I found my strength. It’s at this intersection that my leadership philosophy began a process of metamorphosis, changing, shifting, and evolving into the beliefs and practices that line this page and guide my life.
Maintain Clarity and Purpose
Clarity is a key element of success. By maintaining clarity surrounding my personal purpose, long-term vision, and short-term goals, it enables me to have a lasting impact on the organizations and individuals I support and serve. In addition, by helping others to establish their own sense of clarity, I’m empowered to better support their growth and development while encouraging them to take goal-oriented action on a consistent basis. Setting and achieving goals that are in alignment with values, vision, and purpose are paramount to my leadership philosophy.
Live & Lead According to My Values
The connection between values and decision-making is undeniable. “Any single decision involves a host of values that must be sorted out”. 1 Lack of clarity surrounding values opens the door to confusion and compromise, making space for cognitive dissonance to impact results. My values include growth, development, learning, communication, humility, curiosity, creativity, teamwork, kindness, dedication, perseverance, self-awareness, and a commitment to continual improvement. I live into my values daily, modeling the way and filtering my decisions through the principles I hold dear. This empowers me to be my best self and to serve others in a fiercely authentic manner.
Maintain a Growth Mindset
143 creativity researchers were polled to determine what factors contributed greatest to creative achievement; the overwhelming consensus was that a growth mindset was the number one ingredient.2 I remain focused on cultivating a growth mindset imbued with optimism, fully understanding the impact optimism plays in ones personal and professional life; specifically, its moderating and mediating effects on hope, self-efficacy, and goal achievement in the pursuit of change.3 Maintaining a growth-mindset in myself, while supporting the development of such a mindset in others, is core to my leadership philosophy.
Stay Mindful of the System
I have a deep appreciation for how and why people get locked into reacting without solving. Leveraging systems thinking to gain a deeper understanding of the big picture is essential to my leadership philosophy. Taking time to visit a challenge from multiple angles is time well spent; furthermore, failing to do so may result in making matters worse instead of better. Systems thinking provides the tools to evaluate if solutions are viable before rolling out costly trial-and-error approaches. “Simplification, structure, and linear thinking have their limits, and can generate as many problems as they solve”4 whereas systems thinking can provide the necessary insights to effect meaningful, lasting change.
Ask Meaningful Questions
I’m an effective communicator who leverages a dialogic approach built on a foundation of meaningful, thought-provoking questions. Understanding that the change process is often "experienced as a set of discoveries or epiphanies"5, this approach empowers me to help others arrive at their own conclusions. By giving a little less advice and leading with curiosity, I'm able to make space and support others in swinging open the doors that allow powerful new insights to emerge.
Lead with Humble Curiosity
Approaching every situation with an open mind and a deep sense of curiosity is only half the equation. Understanding that solutions arise from a "passionate and disciplined process of inquiry and dialogue"6 and that "dialogue cannot exist without humility"7, I embrace humility, remaining open to the answers that emerge in response to my curiosity.
Let My Positivity Shine
As Appreciative Inquiry teaches, there is great power in positively framing a situation then asking generative questions to help others explore it more deeply.8 I naturally lead with positivity, but I deliberately leverage this quality to broaden and build human and leadership potential in others. My positivity is the backbone of my leadership philosophy and enables me to help others see potential over problems and opportunities over obstacles.
Start With Strengths
When focus is intentionally placed on character strengths, it "contributes to the greater good"9 and "represents an important route to the psychological good life".10 Identifying, developing, and cultivating strengths is an important aspect of who I am and how I lead. Using the VIA Character Assessment, a psychometrically valid measurement tool, I start with strengths so I can help others to better understand themselves and further develop their leadership skills. When strengths are the springboard, challenges become easier to overcome.
Embrace Creativity
Creativity is one of my signature strengths (per the VIA Assessment), yet, for a period of time, I had allowed it to dwindle under the premise that it wasn’t professional enough in a corporate setting. However, leading with my creativity allows me to solve problems in novel and meaningful ways while delivering authentic value to my clients. I’ve come to recognize the important role this plays in my leadership approach and embrace it wholeheartedly.
Teach What I Learn
"The 'learning game' requires a relentless commitment to discovering what is effective here and now".11 By maintaining an ongoing commitment to my own learning, development and growth, I’m able to better support, mentor, and teach my clients how to effectively identify and implement the solutions and approaches needed for their individual circumstances. As the late, great Maya Angelou once said, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” This quote embodies why I learn and how I teach and lead.
Remember the Ripple
Everything I say and do creates a ripple effect. I remain mindful of being the example, working intentionally to create a positive ripple that enhances the lives of others. These positive impacts ripple far beyond the leaders and organizations I directly work with. These efforts are felt by the families those leaders come home to, experienced by the communities surrounding those companies, and enjoyed by the numerous vendors and organizations that interact and engage at all levels. Everything matters.
Fuel Success with Science
My leadership philosophy rests on a solid foundation of research-backed evidence, both in terms of the published literature as well as research conducted within the framework of an organization. By moving away from anecdotal stories, and migrating toward proven principles, I'm empowered to partner with my clients to identify techniques and solutions that help individuals and teams flourish.
Have Fun
Research has shown that having fun increases productivity, improves subjective well-being, and enhances people’s problem-solving skills.12 By embracing fun in my own life and incorporating its tenets into my philosophy, I’m empowered to help other leaders understand that hard work and fun are not mutually exclusive; they can coexist and when they do, the combination produces incredible results.
What's Your Leadership Philosophy?
If you don't yet have one, now is the perfect time to start. Think about what matters most to you and how your leadership behaviors shape and influence others. If you're interested in learning how to expand your clarity and develop the leader within, be sure to check out STRENGTHENED

References:

1 - Christians, C. G. (2013). Ethical foundations and perspectives. Media ethics: Pearson new international edition: Cases and moral reasoning (pp. 1-22). New York, NY: Pearson Higher Ed., p. 2

‚Äč2 - Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Ballantine Books a division of Random House Inc., pp. 11-12.

3 - Boyatzis, R. & Akrivou, K. (2006). The ideal self as the driver of intentional change. Journal of Management Development, 25(7), pp. 624-642.

4 - Anderson, V. & Johnson, L. (1997). Systems thinking basics: From concepts to causal loops. Acton, MA: Leverage Networks, Inc., p. 19.

5 - Boyatzis, R. (2006). An overview of intentional change from a complexity perspective. Journal of Management Development, 25(7), pp. 607-623.

6 - Palmer, P. J. (2017). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher's life (20th anniv. ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass., p. 106.

7 - Freire, P. (2018). Pedagogy of the oppressed (50th anniv. ed.). New York, NY: Bloomsbury., p. 90.

8 - Stavros, J. M., Torres, C., & Cooperrider, D. L. (2018). Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler, Incorporated., p. 37.

9 - Niemiec, R. M. (2018). Character strengths interventions: A field guide for practitioners. Boston, MA: Hogrefe., p. 17.

10 - Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Washington, DC: New York: American Psychological Association; Oxford University Press., p. 4.

11 - Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Currency., p. 333.

12 - Kouzes, J. M., and Posner, B. Z. (2017). The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 282-283.