Philosophy of Leadership and Ethics Paper
This assignment is designed to stimulate thinking about the broader aspects of individual leadership. It asks you to reflect on your values, beliefs, and attitudes, and how they translate to leadership behavior. A personal philosophy of leadership asks you to think about what excellent leadership is, and how you strive to attain it. The instructor may use Turnitin.com to evaluate the originality of all papers
Instructions: Writing a Philosophy of Leadership
Students may certainly exercise a degree of latitude with how to organize this paper but one approach to consider is a ten-paragraph format that should culminate in a paper of between five to ten pages. This paper must be structured as an academic essay using formatted with APA 6th Ed. and not as a Q and A paper.
The following questions are intended to guide and stimulate your critical thinking about the practice and development of leadership.
1. What is the primary purpose of leadership? Clarifying questions: What are leaders supposed to accomplish and why should we engage in leadership?
2. Why should I engage in leadership? Clarifying questions: How would being a leader impact on your attaining your personal goals and objectives?
3. What are my criteria for defining “success” as a leader? Clarifying questions: How will you evaluate your effectiveness as a leader? How much of your success will be based on your internal sense of satisfaction and how much will be determined by externally measurable outcomes defined by others (e.g., profession, community, peers or family)?
4. Assuming that trustworthiness is critical to effective leadership, what traits, skills, and behaviors will gain the trust of those I wish to influence? Clarifying questions: How do you become trustworthy? Is it likely that other members of your team or organization can be trusted?
5. How will I ensure that there is effective communication in my group or organization? Clarifying questions: How do you intend to keep information flowing effectively? Do you expect to create an “open” organizational culture? How will you react to bad news? How will you learn what is really going on in your organization? Do you expect your subordinates to always “speak truth to power?”
6. What are my concepts regarding whom to involve, and when, in the decision-making process in my organization? Clarifying questions: How “decisive” should you be? How “collaborative?” What situational factors will determine which style you will use?
7. What is the proper mode and level of the use of the power of my position as a leader? Clarifying questions: What symbols and privileges will you require to be an effective leader? How will you exercise an appropriate level of control without inappropriately meddling in the activities of others? How will you ensure that you will not abuse the power of your position?
8. How will I maintain some kind of “balance” in life and how will I prioritize the competing loyalties to self, family, religion, community, organization, and profession? Clarifying questions: How will you typically order these priorities understanding that the relative order of priorities may change from time to time based on a specific situation?
9. How will I create an environment that promotes and supports individual and team growth and learning? Clarifying questions: How will you develop an organizational climate that demands high standards of performance and at the same time provide the opportunity to learn, coach, experiment, and innovate? How will you reward appropriate risk taking?
10. What are my guidelines for continuing growth and development as a person and as a leader—my formula for self-assessment and future learning? Clarifying questions: How do you intend to remain current? What is your plan for future growth and learning that is essential for your success or satisfaction? How will you get feedback about the quality of your leadership— your demonstrated strengths and weaknesses?
A leadership philosophy is less a description of how you lead, and more of a statement about the fundamental beliefs and values that inform your practice of leadership. Think about your definition of leadership and the theories, models and frameworks that you have been exposed to throughout the course. Your ability to link your leadership philosophy with the concepts from this course will drive much of the grading for this requirement. So, please cite the sources of the underlying concepts for your leadership philosophy. You are encouraged to draw from academic material and/or peer-reviewed articles outside of the course texts to further strengthen your paper.
Please avoid “bumper sticker” approaches to leadership. Bumper stickers are succinct, and sometimes appealing, statements that are insufficient for the serious study of leadership. Here are a few examples of what not to do:
My philosophy is simple: get good people, tell them what needs to be done, and then leave them alone.
My philosophy can be stated very simply: treat others just as you want to be treated.
I can spell out my philosophy in a few words: demand loyalty, reward excellence, and punish failure.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
My philosophy is to work to gain the trust of others, build teams, and expect success.
The philosophy is to reflect your current thinking. It is therefore a snapshot in time and it may change. The philosophy is, however, to be somewhat enduring. Since it focuses on your beliefs and values it should not be tied to a particular organizational context.
This format was modified from Ulmer, W. F., Jr. (2002). “Recording A Personal Philosophy of Leadership”.