Leaders are not robots; they are human beings with values and worldviews shaped by their own experiences. In the best leaders, these values and experiences lead to a personal leadership philosophy—what we like to call a leadership point of view.
Professor Noel Tichy’s extensive research determined that the most effective leaders have a clear, teachable point of view and are willing to teach it to others, particularly the people they work with. That’s why my wife, Dr. Marjorie Blanchard, and I began teaching a Leadership Point of View course in our Master of Science in Executive Leadership (MSEL) program at the University of San Diego.
What is a leadership point of view? We describe it as a leader’s personal elevator pitch—the essential message a leader wants to communicate to the world. A leadership point of view reflects your journey, your values, your goals, and your expectations of others.
Start with Reflection
If you are a leader, we recommend that you take the time to reflect on and write down your leadership point of view. This reflection will help you find your authentic leadership, what Harvard Business School professor and bestselling author Bill George calls your True North. Your leadership point of view will serve as a compass you can use to align your actions with your values.
To determine your leadership point of view, take the time to do the following three things:
- Identify and write about key people and events that have shaped and influenced your leadership point of view. Who mentored you? Taught you? Inspired you? What did you admire or not admire about each of these people? What did you learn from them? What have been the turning points in your life? What did you learn from these experiences?
- Describe your leadership values. What core beliefs do you feel strongly about? Make a list of values—truth, learning, creativity, success, loyalty, etc.—and identify your three to five most important values.
- Share your expectations for yourself and others. These expectations should flow naturally from the people and key events that have influenced you and your values. Your expectations really are the essence of your leadership point of view. Letting people know what they can expect from you underscores the idea that good leadership is a partnership. And letting others know what you expect from them gives people a picture of how they can be successful under your leadership.
Developing your leadership point of view invites you to think deeply about your leadership legacy and how you want to be seen and remembered as a leader. It is intended to capture your voice and communicate how you want people to experience you as a leader, so that you are more connected and effective.
The world needs more leaders with points of view that inspire and uplift. Our dream is that someday everyone will work with leaders who are leading at a higher level—a day when self-serving leaders are history, and leaders who serve others are the rule, not the exception.
Want to learn more about our people-centered approach to leadership? Download a free 60-page summary of Leading at a Higher Level. It’s available for free on The Ken Blanchard Companies’ website and it contains the best thinking from the founding associates and consulting partners of our company. Use this link to access the summary.