Guest contributions:

04.22.13  Uncommon Leadership 

04.02.15  Switch and Shift  

05.13.15  Better Practice Team Performance

05.29.15  Better Practice Team Performance

07.08.15  Switch and Shift 

07.14.15  Better Practice Team Performance

10.05.15  Switch and Shift 

Stacey's Reading List...


"Tribe of Mentors" by Timothy Ferriss

"Shortcut" by John Pollack 

"Seeing What Others Don't" by Gary Klein

"Several Short Sentences About Writing" by Verlyn Klinkenborg

"The Birkman Method - Your Personality at Work" by Sharon Birkman Fink and Stephanie Capparell

"Creative Intelligence" by Bruce Nussbaum 

"Improv Wisdom" by Patricia Ryan Madson

"Training To Imagine" by Kat Koppett

"Quiet" by Susan Cain

"Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson

"A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink

"Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman 

"Rework" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson  

"The Leadership Pipeline" by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, James Noel  

"Life:  Selected Quotations" by Paulo Coelho 

"Deep Change" by Robert Quinn

"The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz  

"The Way of the Shepherd" by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak  

"Developing the Leader Within You" by John Maxwell  

"Mr. Peabody's Apples" by Madonna

"Orbiting the Giant Hairball" by Gordon MacKenzie




blog archive

Writing Your Personal Leadership Philosophy

Originally published as Guest Commentary in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal (October 28, 2013)

Great leaders spend time in introspection; they are students of life.  They take time to think and reflect - to deeply understand the essence of their personal leadership philosophy 

A personal leadership philosophy, often referred to as a PLP, is a set of beliefs and principles that strongly influence how one interprets the world.  A clear leadership philosophy guides ones actions and affects how one responds to people and situations.

A PLP can be written in any format (from bullet point to paragraph narration) but generally includes the following components:

  • Mission / Vision – what you believe is your purpose and the path that it will take
  • Core values – the commitments in your life that determine many of your decisions and actions
  • Ethical behaviors – guidelines for behavior
  • Leadership principles – guidelines that govern your beliefs and your actions
  • Personal idiosyncrasies – your peculiar likes and dislikes, perhaps even “hot buttons” 

Here are 4 steps to writing a good PLP: 

Step 1:  Think about where your “perspective” comes from - how do you interpret reality…?  Most of us have gained our perspectives from our:

  • Childhood
  • Family / siblings / parents / parenting / friends
  • Traditions
  • Religion / spirituality
  • Athletics / sports
  • Hobbies (music / band / choir)
  • Environment (farm, city, suburbs)
  • Stories / storytelling
  • Travels
  • Hardships / privileges
  • Organizations (Scouting, Boys & Girls Club, Chess, Journalism)
  • Services (United Way, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Humane Society)
  • Jobs / work experiences
  • Books / movies / quotes / poems
  • Education
  • Watching other leaders / role models / mentors
  • Life lessons
  • Dreams and aspirations
  • Service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines)
  • Training and development
  • Current events / world events

Step 2:  Think about what “voice” you are writing in.  Are you describing for others your natural demeanor, or are you expressing expectations for the work environment...?  Ideally it’s a mix of the two.

Step 3:  Set aside some quiet time and write your PLP.  There is no right or wrong way to craft this message – it’s your personal philosophy.  Give yourself permission to let it reflect the essence of who you are. 

Step 4:  At periodic intervals, revisit your PLP and make any necessary revisions. There will be personal and professional learning that occurs throughout your life, and your PLP should reflect your continuously refined leadership message.    

This is where the rubber meets the road.  Post your PLP for others to see.  For those who may not know you well, this provides an incredible peek inside who you are and how you intend to lead others.  For those that are familiar with your leadership style it should be a confirmation of what they already know. If the document is not warmly embraced, it could suggest a disconnect between how you see yourself and what others experience.  And that’s an interesting place for the next conversation. Feedback is a gift. 

My Personal Leadership Philosophy

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Reader Comments (1)

Another outstanding article and one that is near and dear to my heart. I am a big believer in a PLP and Stacey has helped me to build, reflect and share mine. If you don't have one, you should. Keep 'em coming Stacey!!

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

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