If we search google on “leadership” 521,000,000 results come up. A search on Amazon.com returns 91,346 books. There’s so much information out there that we get so overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, what to use, and who to believe. So how and where do we start?
My response: Discover Your Leadership Signature
In the book “Identity: Passport to Success”, Stedman Graham describes 9 steps to develop our identity. In step one, Stedman urges us to know what we value, what we want, and the principles that make us who we are.
No matter what all the experts say, leadership can only be accomplished when the methods are consistent with who we are. To illustrate this idea I will use a personal example.
Below are my top 5 values according to John Maxwell’s 5 Level of Leadership Values Assessment:
I unconsciously behave and think in relation to these values. For example,
- I enjoy learning from others and sharing ideas (Wisdom).
- My conversations always lean towards the intellectual. I like to ask “why?” not to judge but to expand my knowledge.
- I was raised to be confident and brave (Courage).
- I’m always willing to say what others don’t like to say, to defend my principles, to protect others, and to do the right thing regardless of consequences.
- I believe “the truth will set me free” (Honesty).
- It’s in my nature to share information in a straight forward manner; no political correctness, no gimmicks.
- I’m always looking for the simpler solutions.
- The straight forward way. And while I can get caught up on the details every now and then, I’m biased towards simpler is better.
- For family, anything.
- My friends, spouse, family, and team are a priority. It is my duty to build a relationship with them.
It is no surprise the most common statements I hear about the way I lead are:
- I know you won’t hold back.
- I know you have something to say.
- Thank you for taking one for the team.
- I feel like I can tell you anything.
- He’s the most honest person I know.
Out of the many leadership systems and theories I have studied, I can tell you what works best for me are the ones that are consistent with my values. Not because the others are wrong but because I can be comfortable and genuine when applying the ones that relate with my beliefs.
To paraphrase Jon Gordon’s words: Just as the soup is a direct reflection of the soup maker, so is your leadership a direct reflection of your values.
Your values are your leadership signature. Start with your values; the leadership style comes later.