“As I tell my students, becoming the best kind of leader isn’t about emulating a role model or a historic figure. Rather, your leadership must be rooted in who you are and what matters most to you. When you truly know yourself and what you stand for, it is much easier to know what to do in any situation. It always comes down to doing the right thing and doing the best you can.”
Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. - author of From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership
Google “idealized influence” and what you might find is this definition:
Transformational leaders act as role models for their followers. Transformational leaders must embody the values that the followers should be learning and internalizing. The foundation of transformational leadership is the promotion of consistent vision and values.
Let’s see if we can’t simplify this a little bit, especially since several topics seem to be intertwined. What “several topics?” Purpose, Values, and Vision.
Purpose drives performance. It’s not just what you do but why you do it. It provides meaning.
Values drive behavior. It’s how you do what you do.
Vision is what excellence in performance and behavior looks like.
Remove the middle one and we fail at “becoming the best kind of leader” – the objective Professor Jansen Kraemer Jr. suggests we strive for.
What 3 simple strategies will help us do that?
- Recognize (admit) that “living our values” is an indispensable part of “becoming the best kind of leader.”
- Identify your top 3 values.
- Conduct periodic self-reflection and analysis to hold yourself accountable to your values.
May I assume you are on-board with the first strategy? From my experience in hundreds of seminars I can tell you that 98% of individuals have not implemented the second strategy – which makes the third strategy impossible to do.
Here is a simple way to implement the second strategy: Take out a piece of paper and for two minutes write down all the “value” words you can think of – like honesty, compassion, determination, etc. Then circle the 3 that matter most to you. That’s all there is to the second simple strategy. This may be simple, but it is profound.
Step 3: Set aside time to journal your success and challenges in “living” your 3 values.
This is what Coach Lou Holtz did to hold his players accountable for their behavior. Before a student-athlete was even allowed to play for Notre Dame, they had to answer these three questions:
- Can I trust you?
- Will you care about your team and put their interests first?
- Will you always strive for excellence?
These values – trust, care, excellence, - became the standard and expectation. When a student’s behavior did not “live up to” this standard, Coach Holtz would remind the student of the commitment they made and made sure they understood how their behavior was a violation.
Can we not use Coach Holt’s strategy on ourselves?