In formulating my leadership philosophy, I rely on the same core values that guide me in my private life and personal interactions with people. These values are honesty, integrity, and care. I strongly deem that honesty is of paramount importance in personal and professional life: it makes you a reliable partner and friend and assures your colleagues that you are not trying to take an unfair advantage of them.
Integrity is equally important: consistency implies that your colleagues always know what to expect from you, and this allows them to plan their schedules accordingly. Rules applied uniformly are the foundation of a just and effective organization.
Including care as an element of leadership philosophy might come as a surprise for some. However, taking care of one’s subordinates is a distinctive characteristic of an outstanding leader.
It is necessary to understand that one’s colleagues are humans with their own dreams and concerns. At the same time, such an understanding does not equal to leniency and permissiveness: all members of an organization should be well aware that there are certain standards everyone has to adhere to. Care in this context implies knowing that all people are trying to grow and develop, and mistakes are an inevitable part of the process. Nor great leaders are immune to making mistakes! Therefore, a visionary leader would engage with every employee to uncover the causes of mistakes and help them use them as a learning experience.
Moreover, looking at subordinates as humans with their own problems and aspirations can help leaders design an appropriate strategy for employee motivation. Uniformity of standards and performance requirements does not suggest treating all the employees as the same person. A profound knowledge of different theories of motivation will enable leaders to encourage every employee in a way that suits them best.
Great leaders always lead by example. Being committed and passionate about one’s job is a prerequisite to sustaining a high level of organizational alignment and team spirit. A leader should exhibit a proactive approach to task and determination to take risks where appropriate. A leader should have a clear vision of where the organization is going and design both long-term and short-term strategies and plans for the future. In addition, a talented leader would elaborate on an effective way to measure progress and correct for deviations.
Furthermore, leaders should actively seek input into decision-making from their subordinates. Such an approach not only increases the quality of decisions but also encourages employees to take ownership of them and implement them more effectively.
As for my expectations, I set a very high standard for myself. Although perfectionism can be unhealthy, I strive towards doing my best in every situation. I expect the same from others: referring back to my previous statement about the uniformity of standards, I think it is important that all team members are equally committed to the task to prevent free riding. If employees believe standards are too hard to comply with, they should discuss it with me and among themselves in order to come to a creative and mutually satisfactory solution.
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