Values-Based Leadership Part II: Your Leadership Credo
…it’s very hard to connect what we do in the day to day with our values and with such big ideas. We need our leaders to help us with that.”
Recently I was leading a Leading with Presence program for a large biotech company. As I passed through the lobby, I noticed that the company’s values were stenciled on the walls—words and phrases like “Respect,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Quality”, etc., festooned the area in tastefully muted colors.
As I continued down the hall to the training room, I saw more stenciled words: inspirational quotes from great leaders and scientists, like Martin Luther King and Margaret Mead.
When it came time in the program to practice inspiring others using our method of Passionate Purpose, I asked about the words in the lobby and halls. “Certainly,” I said, “it must be easy to fire people up when your company values are side by side with such inspiring messages, and you walk by them every day.”
Silence. Someone coughed. A brave person spoke up. “Yes, it should be that way, but it’s very hard to connect what we do in the day-to-day with our values and with such big ideas. We need our leaders to help us with that.”
Aha. The leader needs to be the conduit between the big aspiring value/mission/message and the day to day. But how does one do that, exactly? A great way to start is to develop and share a leadership credo.
What is your leadership credo? Define yours using Ariel’s Three Step Leadership Credo template.
Developing a Leadership Credo
The purpose of a leadership credo is to allow you to communicate your personal values and principles (and/or those of your company), as they manifest in your role as a leader in a way that engages the hearts and minds of others. Here’s how to get started:
1. Write down a couple of values or principles that are important to you and/or your company.
2. Describe why these values and principles are important to you personally and in your role as a leader.
3. Brainstorm quotes, metaphors, stories (see InterMission for more on stories) or examples of heroes or role models that relate to or illustrate your values and principles.
4. Present! Share your leadership credo in presentations, meetings with your team, etc using the following format (and yes, it will sound better the more you practice):
- Start by describing a metaphor, telling a story or sharing an inspirational quote from your list
- State your values
- Explain why the values are important to you personally or in your role as a leader.