What is Principle-Based Leadership?
I’m often asked, “what exactly is principle based leadership?” Or, “why are you so adamant that leading with principles is so important?”
Let’s dive into the definition, benefits and challenges of leading with principles.
Principle-based leadership is a leadership style that is centered around a set of guiding principles , such as The 10 WEs, that shape the leader’s actions, decisions, and behaviors. These principles serve as a moral compass for the leader and help them to navigate complex situations in a way that is authentic, ethical, and aligned with their values.
Benefits of Principle-Based Leadership – Why ‘WE’
One key benefit of principle-based leadership is that it allows leaders to make decisions that are not only based on their own self-interest, but also on what is best for their organization, their team, and the wider community. This type of leadership is often associated with a strong sense of integrity and honesty, and is particularly effective in building trust and respect among team members.
In order to be an effective principle-based leader, it is essential that leaders are clear about their values and what they stand for. This requires a deep level of self-awareness and the ability to reflect on one’s own beliefs and motivations – as opposed to what’s best for the leader. Once a leader has a clear understanding of their values, they can use these as a foundation for their leadership style and make decisions that are aligned with them – for the betterment of the team.
Challenges of Principle-Based Leadership
One of the challenges of principle-based leadership is that it requires a high level of discipline and self-control. Leaders must be able to resist the temptation to take shortcuts or make decisions based on short-term gain, and instead be willing to take a long-term view and consider the impact of their actions on others.
Another challenge is that principle-based leadership may require leaders to make difficult or unpopular decisions that may not be popular with everyone. However, by staying true to their values and acting with integrity, leaders can earn the respect and trust of their team and build a strong, cohesive culture.
Putting It All Together
AS we’ve learned, principle-based leadership is a leadership style that is centered around a set of guiding principles that shape the leader’s actions, decisions, and behaviors. It requires a deep level of self-awareness, discipline, and integrity, and is particularly effective in building trust and respect among team members. While it may require leaders to make difficult decisions, it ultimately helps to create a strong, cohesive culture and allows leaders to make decisions that are not only in their own self-interest, but also in the best interests of their organization and the wider community.