A few weeks ago I did a series on my Personal Core Values. I use the values of Grace, Joy, Agency, and Belonging to guide my decision make in life. My favorite Principal Engineer asked me if I also have values that I use in a professional setting that help guide me as a leader. So I wanted to share my philosophy of leadership here as well.
Leadership is a privilege and with that privilege each leader must find a style that can inspire others. For me the inspiration of others must come from a place of purpose and values. To best use my gifts and align my values, I must do work that serves a purpose for others. The “others” in my case are customers, employees, colleagues, and my community.
My personal leadership philosophy is centered around the following four specific core values:
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.Albert Einstein
Building excellent products involves asking a lot of questions, making room for failure, and getting out of our own comfort zones. I believe in creating an environment where every person is a student so that each day involves gathering more data to uncover new learnings and generate ideas. As a leader, I want to understand what motivates our customers, what motivates my team, and what motivates my colleagues. To do that, I listen with an open-minded to every answer that comes my way. In this way, I will create an environment that enables us to take action and innovate. Curiosity will also help me seek diverse people, cultures, and concepts that will inform my leadership and customer outcomes.
The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.Tom Ford
I take responsibility for our customer’s experience, our team’s experience, and our community’s experience of our company and our products. These connections mean everything to me because they point to our purpose. To have good connections, I listen all the way to the end of people’s sentences and use the power of the phrase “tell me more” to go deeper. Because everyone is on a journey, I try to assume good intent in the words and actions of others. I want us all to be better, to grow, and to have the joy of solving real problems for real customers. Who you are is important to me, not just what you do. I promise to have high expectations, be positive about what we can achieve, and celebrate our wins, big and small.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.Winston Churchill
Courage is a cornerstone of my life both personally and professionally. Like many of us, I have had to show bravery in the face of adversity to achieve success. Through those struggles, I have learned to do what is right, even when it is hard. I don’t believe in sitting back and waiting for something to happen. Instead, I believe we must test bold ideas and go on adventures into uncertainty until we find a solution that will delight our customers. This means being open to difficult, candid, but kind conversations which should be reflected in the giving and receiving feedback in a specific and timely manner. For me, the courage to have a strong point of view and listen to diverse points of view are not in conflict, but in harmony towards being our best. Sometimes courage also means being willing to walk away when someone or something no longer aligns with your morals, ethics, or values. Courage also says that I am willing to face my biases, look at my privilege, and acknowledge missteps and ask for forgiveness.
There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of livingNelson Mandela
I am passionate about the outcomes for our customers and the impact we have as a team. I believe ownership never says “not my job”, “I don’t do that”, or “ask someone else.” For that reason I take full responsibility for setting a vision that aligns with shared values. This vision creates energy for new ideas, hope for what the future can look like, and a safe and trusting space from which to dare greatly. I take my words and my impact seriously, but always with humor, levity, and a hug (with permission). I believe in running fast, making decisions as we go, and being good enough to say with confidence that our customers, community, and employees love us!
Tell me. What are you leadership and professional core values? I’d love to hear them!