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Becoming a Person Centred Leader Part 2: Values, Principles and Modelling

As I said in part one of this series, great leaders are fantastic models for others developing their leadership skills. When I’m talking about modelling here I don’t mean the catwalk kind, although there are many fashion models that are great models of business and leadership.

What I mean, is someone who is a great example of where I want to be or who applies what I want to learn in a way that gets the results I’m after. When I am seeking a model to learn from I find someone (often through reading as well as in person) who has achieved the results I would like in the way I would like to achieve them. In other words someone who has the, values, principles, behaviours and skills that I admire and has used them to reach their goals in a way that I can relate to. For me to be able to do that, the things I admire in the person must be obvious. This means that the person must among other things, know what their values and principles are and live them through their behaviour.

So what are values and principles then?

Values are beliefs we hold that are really important to us. We may not be able to articulate what they are but we know when they have been violated either by ourselves or others because we feel uncomfortable. An example of this is when my daughter was little, she sometimes picked up things from the supermarket and I if didn’t notice and didn’t pay for it, I would feel awful, really uneasy. I would have to queue up all over again – assuming I hadn’t made it home and knew which shop it was from! So a strong value for me is honesty and it keeps me on the straight and narrow because I don’t like that uncomfortable feeling – it is my moral compass if you like.

A principle on the other hand is I think, more about the rules we live by – the rules attached to our values even. For example, one of my rules about honesty is never to take what isn’t mine. That is a strong principle for me and it leads me to be congruent with my value of honesty.

So to live our values and principles in an authentic way and be a leadership model for others, we must understand what they are, we must live them, demonstrate them in our behaviour.   To become more aware of what your values are, try noticing when you feel uncomfortable, notice what pushes your buttons. Also identify what you most like doing, who with and why. Make note of the things you notice over time and you are likely to find that your values are within.

Once you are clear about your values, find someone who models how you want to be as a leader, someone whose behaviour fits with your values. Notice how they behave and find out how they do what they do as a leader. You can even adopt the behaviours that resonate with you – do what they do. As you grow as a leader, who knows what you stand for and behaves in a way that is congruent with your values, people will want to model you too.

In my next blog post we will be looking at personal vision purpose and goals.

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