As an avid reader and student of personal development, I have found that there are often contradictory points of view from many of the leading experts. Every leader encourages what they believe is the most important leadership behaviors, traits, and characteristics. After reading tons of books, blogs, and tips on leadership, I realize that effective leaders have a clear, teachable leadership point of view and are willing to share it with others.
Leadership expert, Ken Blanchard, offers seven questions to develop your own leadership point of view.
- Who are the influencers (key people) in your life who have had a positive (or, in some cases, negative) impact on your life, such as parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, or bosses and what did you learn from these people about leadership?
When we ask people who most impacted their lives, seldom do they mention bosses or other organizational leaders. More often they talk about their parents, grandparents, friends, coaches, or teachers. What did you learn from these people about leadership? How did their influences help your leadership point of view evolve?
- Think about your life purpose. Why are you here, and what do you want to accomplish?
Leaders need to have a clear picture of why they are doing what they are doing. It saddens me to think that I can only think of a handful of people who have a clear sense of purpose in their lives. How can you make good decisions about how you use your time, talent, and treasure if you don’t know what business you’re in?
- What are your core values that will guide your behavior as you attempt to live your life “on purpose?”
Most leaders suffer from what I call a “CV Syndrome.” CV (Core Value) Syndrome is a serious lack of awareness on the leader’s core values that results in an inconsistent and inadequate life. The implications of not curing this disease is debilitating, resulting in a life full of regrets and guilt. The important thing in life is to decide what’s most important. The truth is every person values things differently. Some people value wealth, power, and prestige while others are more concerned with safety or survival. The key is to start with a long list and then narrow it down.
- Given what you’ve learned from past influencers, life events, your purposes, and core values, what is your leadership point of view – your beliefs about leading and motivating people?
Your beliefs are the essence of your leadership point of view. These should flow naturally from the people who have influenced you and from your purpose and values.
- What can your people expect from you?
Leadership is not something you do to people, it’s something you do with people. Letting people know what they can expect from you underscores the idea that leadership is a partnership process. It gives people a picture of what your behavior will look like under your leadership.
- What do you expect from your people?
Because leading is a partnership process, it is perfectly reasonable—in fact, it’s imperative—that you let people know what you expect from them. It gives people a picture of what their behavior will look like under your leadership.
- How will you set an example for your people?
Your leadership point of view should let others know how you will set an example for the values and behaviors you are encouraging. As most parents know, people learn from your behavior, not from your words. Leaders must walk their talk. Developing a leadership point of view, by following the method above, creates a clear path for you to follow.