Leadership Story | Leaders Walk the Talk

A common question after facilitating a Leadership Excellence Course is: “How do I know when I’m actually living my leadership philosophy?” Good question. One of the best indicators is when we make a tough decision, an uncomfortable decision, and realize - often after the fact - that something violated our leadership philosophy.

Over the past month an informal coaching session formed with a LinkedIn connection in London. Let’s call the connection Alex. Alex is interviewing with a hiring Senior Vice President in Naples, Florida for a new position, and is nervous. Why the apprehension? Because Alex left a job - left a place, with a very  toxic culture - before securing a new engagement. And the hole in the resumé is now visible to everyone, including the Senior Vice President.

Rather than try to hide this unplanned departure, rather than reacting defensively to questions about the resignation, we established Alex should share, and further should volunteer that this decision was based on Alex’s leadership philosophy.  In this case: A toxic work culture was a non-negotiable - a deal-breaker. Alex could not stay because the environment was incompatible with personal core values.

And that’s exactly what Alex did. Alex shared the decision-making process with the Senior Vice President. What do you think happened? Let’s pause:

What would you do as the hiring manager?
Would you have stayed longer than Alex in the toxic environment?

Turns out the Senior Vice President understood the decision and appreciated Alex putting it front and center rather than hide from it. Looks like a good outcome so far.

Part of the reason we write a personal leadership philosophy is to guide our decision-making process, especially when under stress. Recall one part of a leadership philosophy is declaring our non-negotiables. It’s also a way to hold ourselves accountable rather that avoid inevitable conflicts. Leaders make decisions based on their leadership philosophy. Leaders live it. Leaders Walk the Talk.