Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Leadership Philosophy

My definition of leadership

Leadership defines a role an individual chooses to accept, whether it is leading alone or with others, as a job title or in a single situation. A leader must look out for each team member, provide the team with the tools necessary to be successful and provide guidance towards a common goal.

What I expect from myself

I am honest and transparent. I will give team members as much information as I can so they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities. I will not expect more from the team than I expect from myself. I have high expectations, but not unreasonable ones. I will be approachable. I will be tough, yet empathetic when it is warranted. I will provide feedback and direction when needed. I will be a sounding board. I will be a devil’s advocate and attempt to provide different perspectives so the team can make the best decisions possible. I will create an environment of empowerment, yet, if it is necessary to move the team forward, I will not be afraid to make a final decision.

I learned much from Jim Collin’s book, Good to Great: I will strive to be a Level 5 leader. I will recruit talent even if I am not sure what they will do once they join the team. I will invite the right people on to the bus and seat them in the right seats. I will not be motivated by fear. Goals should inherently motivate, but I will provide the team with the tools, compensation and security it needs so it can focus on being great. I will put the best people in the best areas for growth opportunity. I will listen more, talk less and ask questions.

I will guide, not direct. I welcome questions, feedback and constructive criticism. I will help us all pursue joy. As famed college basketball coach John Wooden suggests, I will love each team member the same. Like professor Dr. Athena du Pre’ said, if I must let someone go, it will be done out of love for them… their happiness matters, too. I will not allow others to do my “dirty work” for me. I will have the courage to address the issue myself. I will be loyal to the team and its members. I will forgive others for honest mistakes. I will also forgive myself for honest mistakes. Like Southwest Airlines, I will fire customers who do not treat team members with respect. I will provide authentic, genuine leadership and create an environment people want to be in. As exemplified by Dr. du Pre’, I will do what is necessary to have refreshed, healthy and invigorated team members so the team is creative, effective and efficient.

What I expect from team members

I expect team members to be honest, transparent and loyal. Deadlines are not to be missed. I expect them to communicate with me. If you don’t know or aren’t sure about something, don’t pretend you do. You will eventually look like a disingenuous liar. Simply say that you don’t know, but will find out quickly. I will expect the best the team has to offer, and then try to stretch the team a step higher. I expect team members to grasp and use their empowerment for the good of the group and organization. To quote the unofficial Google motto, “Don’t be evil.” I require the team members to be respectful, honest and to hold each other to high standards.

Be brave. I expect team members to have integrity and to be accountable for their actions, choices and words. If you commit to something, anything, see it through. I don’t want to have to tell team members what to do or remind them repeatedly to do it. I do not like to micromanage. I want there to be an agreed upon consensus and each team member to take responsibility for their part in the plan. Yet, don’t be afraid to ask questions to gain better understanding. And, paraphrasing Randy Pausch in his last lecture, don’t let the brick walls stop you – those walls just show you how badly you want something. Do not be complacent and do not complain. If you have the tools to fix the problem, do it. If you don’t have the tools, ask for them. Follow up and follow through with everything you do. Embrace constructive criticism. If no one cared, or thought you were capable of achieving their expectations, no one would say anything to you.


I do not like to waste time or resources. I am impatient... but I am working on it. I love a good discussion and am competitive by nature. I like to win. But also see the benefits of a true dialogue and realize there is an appropriate time for each.


I will not tolerate cheating, lying or team members’ disrespect to themselves or others. I do not accept excuses. Habitual tardiness or absences show a lack of respect and commitment to the team and are not acceptable. Ignorance is not bliss, it is inexcusable.