Earlier this fall I was asked to give a talk on Ethical Leadership to a student leadership conference at Purdue University. One of the students who heard me, asked me to speak on the same topic to his student group – the Mechanical Engineering Ambassadors, which I did last evening.
Part of my talk was to give my definition of ethical leadership. It is one that I have synthesized over time, and I am sure draws heavily from various things I have read (I’m sorry that I can’t link to any of them for you).
Ethical Leadership – Knowing your core values and having the courage to act on them on behalf of the common good.
There is much I could unpack from that single sentence, but as I drove home last night I kept thinking about the core values piece and how that impacts us as leaders.
When I woke up this morning, my subconscious having worked on this idea through the night, I came to this point – living your core values is the the ultimate strategic leadership practice.
What could be more strategic that aligning your work, actions and decisions with your highest principles?
So here is your leadership activity for today:
1. Reflect on your core values.
1a. If you don’t have a list of them, today is the best day to create it.
2. Identify at least 2 ways – by looking at your schedule or action list – that you can live them in your work today (there are probably 22 ways, but two is a good starting point to make this a more conscious activity).
This simple but powerful practice will help you reconnect to the most important strategic actions you can take, and is a way, in 5 minutes or less to build more effective leadership skills (and habits) today.