A partner shared this article with us from the Wall Street Journal and it instantly struck a chord. This article is a bit different from those that we usually share. But it’s uncommon and it’s important because we’re all leaders — whether we’re leading a company or family or anything else. Like parenting, effective leadership can be practiced and mastered. And at the core of that learning should be leadership principles–a guiding set of values that provide a clear map for navigating through virtually any leadership moment.
The most important quality of a good leader is to empower those you lead to do their best.
Two parents have an uncommonly real and thoughtful conversation about helping their children make the transition from dependence to self-sustaining adulthood. “We stumble and fall every day.” “Character comes before credentials.” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and his wife Melissa are chock-full of uncommon sense and so are the leadership principles that they live and lead by.
- Resist consumption
- Embrace the pain of work
- Connect across generations
- Travel meaningfully
- Become truly literate
These five simple, principles are applicable to many of the challenges we see companies and brands face daily. These foundational principles aren’t just inspirational words to hang on the wall, but actionable values. Values that live on a wall in a conference room are often lengthy and forgettable, but shared values that are alive and authentic drive conviction, consistency and clarity. Like children with no real guidance, companies with unclear values give no clear guardrails for choices. But values-driven companies function with passion and focus.
We are what we do and companies are what their people do.
Actions reflect what people truly hold important. Most people and organizations have a gap between the beliefs they aspire to and the beliefs they actively act upon. Shared values that are demonstrated in choices and behaviors from a company create opportunities to engage and inspire people inside and outside of the organization. Values connect and motivate people, and can supercharge teams with energy and commitment in tough times. They are the lifeblood of a culture and are what brings a company to life. Do you know your company and brand values? Have you shared the values your company lives by? Examine your values and what you believe in, make them meaningful, then put them to work inside and outside of your company.
Being a great leader isn’t about motivational words. It’s about real action.
Leaders must be able to inspire, challenge and engage people to believe that they can put their principles into practice. Just like a good parent, they know how to ask the right questions and when to challenge problem-solving. And as Ben and Melissa reiterate, effective leadership means you don’t need to have all of the answers. So what should we expect from a leader? — Bulldog Drummond’s CEO discusses the basic skills required to live the definition of a leader.
Original post: Bulldog Drummond Blog.