About a year ago I attended a great workshop for leaders. The workshop was lead by a retired Naval officer who was now serving as a Captain for a city fire department. The workshop was small and just the right size to get to know the other leaders in attendance. The output of this course is what I call my Leadership Compass, which you are about to read. I waited to write about my experience from the course to have some credibility about the lasting value I received. I can attest that taking the time to articulate and write down what guides me as a leader has been very insightful. I have shared this Leadership Compass with my leadership, peers, and staff. It is one thing to think about how we want to lead, but there is something about putting it out there for others to hold us to. Hope you enjoy.

Leadership is a privilege not a right. Great leaders are inclusive, humble, and inspire each member of the team to do their very best. I believe in a collaborative approach to leadership; one that respects the contributions and perspectives each person brings to the team. A team is not unlike the human body, each part has a purpose. One part of the body cannot function on its own; each member of the body is required to make the body whole.

I live by a certain set of core values; Integrity, Faith, Family and Loyalty. These virtues serve as my moral compass as I navigate my role of husband, father, son, and leader. Just like the tides ebb and flow I too have high points (success) and low points (failures) as I strive to live out these values. The important thing to me is to not give up. In my personal and professional life I have to remember to take life one day at a time. To accept help from others and to freely give help, learning as I go and looking at every person as a teacher. From those lessons I learn more about myself.

I will carry out my responsibilities as your leader by always being upfront with you. I will tell you what I am going to do and you can count on me to do it. We may not always agree, but we will have taken the time to understand each other’s position. My faith is important to me and I will allow it to guide my thinking in each situation. Being true to my faith means that I respect and value all human life; the title of leadership does not mean I matter more than you. The best leaders are those who surround themselves with outstanding people. I believe very strongly in a work/life balance. I work hard to create healthy boundaries and I will insist that you do the same. I will stand by you. I will not abandon you in times of personal or professional need. I will applaud your successes and stand with you in your failures. I will do this as a personal testament to you that no man is an island and that together we can go further.

Non-negotiable behaviors for me are dishonesty, gossiping, and berating others in public. It is important to me that you share good news and bad news with me. I will not shoot the messenger. Everyone needs an opportunity to vent just make sure you bring a solution to the table. I am a problem solver so if you just want me to listen and not act be sure to tell me that. I will respect your request and provide support from the sidelines.

Pet peeves for me are sending me an email and then coming to my office to explain to me verbally exactly what you said in the email. Another pet peeve is complaining in the hallway but not having the courage to speak to someone who can help with the issue.

This is my leadership compass and sometimes strong winds and rough seas blow me off course. If you observe me talking the talk but not walking the walk I give you permission to come to me privately and hold me accountable. I count on you to do this. It is my hope that I will inspire you to care as much about my growth as I do yours.

@chrismwalden

2 Comments

  1. Alli Polin | Reply

    Powerful! Especially the ending. It’s not all about you as the leader but how you show up in your relationship with others. It says a lot that you are asking your team to go on a leadership journey with you. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Alli

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