How To Develop A Personal Leadership Philosophy

Everyone has an idea of how they would like to lead. While similar to others, your personal leadership philosophy may differ from others. And that’s okay.

But how do you develop or create a personal leadership philosophy? I’m glad you’re thinking about that. In this article, we’ll discuss what a personal leadership philosophy is, why it matters, and how to create one.

People walking on a downward slope. One person is out in front of all the others

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

What Is A Personal Leadership Philosophy?

Think about your personal beliefs, thoughts, and ideas. These things all relate to how you lead and take charge of your organization. You may not think about these things daily, but they impact how you lead.

They’re also part of your personal leadership philosophy. These areas of your life guide and direct you as you do your job.

More than anything, these areas impact you as a person. They follow you regardless of what you do or where you go. Your personal leadership philosophy is the who of what you do.

Why A Personal Leadership Philosophy Matters

So… you know what a personal leadership philosophy is now. It’s your core values, personal ideals, and more. It’s what makes you, you.

But why does that matter? What makes a personal leadership philosophy matter?

Imagine you’re a captain at sea. You’re sailing the seven seas and having a grand old time. Only you realize that you have left your map and compass on land. You don’t have any way to navigate. 

That’s the same as your personal leadership philosophy. Your personal leadership philosophy is your guiding light, your compass, and your map for figuring out what to do next.

It may seem strange to consider this a map, but when you think about it, it really is. A map gives you insight into where you’re going. It shows the roads and trails you may take. Your PLP shows you something similar. It lays out what actions you feel are appropriate, how to behave, and what you want to accomplish. 

How To Develop A Personal Leadership Philosophy

Developing a personal leadership philosophy can be as easy or difficult as you like. I believe the best PLPs are the ones you focus on developing and take the time to dig deep into who you are. Below, you’ll find 5 ways to develop your PLP.

Reflect on your leadership experiences:

Think about your leadership experiences, both as a leader and as someone who was led. How did you feel about those situations? What actions stuck out to you? Why? What would you have done differently? Each of these questions will guide you in creating your PLP.

What leaders do you admire? Think about their qualities. What makes them a great leader? What attributes do they have that you have? You don’t only have to think about leaders in the business world. Think about leaders in the church, politics, or even your own personal life.

Think about the impact you want to make as a leader. What values and actions are most important to you? As you ponder this, you’ll be able to begin to put together your PLP.

Define your core values:

I’ve recently shared about developing your core values on this site. You can find how to develop your core values by clicking here.

Your core values lead and define you. By figuring out who you are, why you believe what you believe, and following those core values, you’ll be on your way to figuring out your PLP.

Figure out your leadership style:

Did you know there are 8 common leadership styles? They are 

  • Autocratic
  • Bureaucratic
  • Transactional
  • Democratic
  • Laissez-faire
  • Charismatic
  • Transformational
  • Servant

Each leadership style differs from one another, but they also overlap during our tenure as leaders. As you take leadership assessments, ask others what they see in you, and examine who you are, you’ll discover what leadership styles you use the most.

Define your vision and goals:

A leader is someone who has a vision and a goal. They have a strong sense of where they’re going. The vision and goals of a leader also directs them on a path.

You have to be willing to clearly define your vision and goals. You can use the SMART Goals method or any other goal-setting method you desire. 

Make sure you know where you want to go and accomplish.

Write out your Personal Leadership Philosophy Statement:

You now know who you are, what you believe, how you like to lead, and your vision and goals. It’s time to write out your Personal Leadership Philosophy Statement. You can look at, refer to, and reflect upon this statement.

How do you write out your Personal Leadership Philosophy statement? Do the following:

  • Write out your core values
  • Write down your leadership style
  • Write out your vision and goals

Answer the following questions:

  • What is my purpose as a leader?
  • How do I see myself and my role?
  • How do I make decisions?
  • What do I do to motivate those I lead?
  • How do my core values play into this?

Keep your PLP between one and two pages. This is something you should be able to quicky look at, understand who you are, and where you’re going. 

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