This article about developing a leadership credo has been written primarily for sales leaders because my business is about helping sales leaders and teams to excel in today’s challenging business world. However, the message is relevant for leaders of any stripe.
The challenges we face in our work are increasingly complex, cultural and dynamic – and they demand courageous, creative responses. To make a real difference, all of us must stretch beyond conventional answers to bring about new solutions that people want to be part of. Leadership opportunities arise from the ability to focus on the possible, the potential, and the promising – rather than on the correct, the complete, or the certain – and from learning to create what’s next. And we are all leaders at some level.
As leaders, we are often “up against it”, having to wrestle with situations where we have no idea what to do. Leadership can be like driving at night through a thick fog – you may only be able to see a few feet in front of you, but you can make the whole trip this way. Covid-19 has certainly given us ample opportunities to lead during a fog.
As a leader, it is helpful to have a leadership credo to guide you, particularly during uncertain times. A credo is a statement of belief that directs your actions. I have found that my credo, “Go slowly. Go slowly. Go slowly. Keep going.” has increased my comfort with uncertainty and has allowed me to suspend decision making while continuing to move forward.
My leadership credo has allowed me to tackle challenges by letting go of control – sharing ideas before they’re ready, learning by doing, and trusting the creative process.
To develop a leadership credo, write out your answers to following:
- When you are stuck or unsure, what are some things you say to yourself so you can get unstuck and get going?
- What are some of the themes?
- Write a statement that incorporates the most important themes.
- Find an opportunity where you are stuck, unsure or scared to try out your credo
- Did it work? Did it help you get unstuck and get going?
- If not, what did you hear yourself say to yourself to get unstuck? Revise your credo.
- I found that my first draft credo didn’t work when I was in a scary situation. When I listened to the small voice inside of myself as I got increasingly nervous yet knew I had to do something, I heard what I actually say to myself. “Go slowly. Go slowly. Go slowly. Keep going.” And then I could put one foot in front of the other.
- Share your credo. There are many opportunities to reinforce it with your team, during presentations and anywhere it makes sense to let people know your beliefs and what is guiding you.
We may not be able to go outside right now, but we can definitely go inside. I invite you to take the time to reflect on what your leadership credo is. By articulating it, you will find extra reserves of the emotional and psychological agility required of you, particularly when you are confused or scared. You can do it.