I recently conducted a valuable exercise to define my first principles as a leader. I then used these to build up a similar set of values for my team (a topic for a future post). This is what I came up with:

  1. I speak and act with sincerity, humility, and integrity.
  2. I ensure every person I work with feels physically, mentally, and emotionally safe.
  3. I communicate with full transparency by default. I make exceptions for the protection of trust and confidentiality.
  4. I invest in relationships and I actively put the needs of others first.
  5. I regularly give constructive, honest feedback. I solicit the same in return.
  6. I ask for commitment rather than assuming I have it.
  7. I trust my teammates to do the right thing. I implement processes to ensure this will hold true.
  8. I don’t play favorites. I give rewards and provide opportunities based on objective assessments of qualifications and needs.
  9. I empower people with a problem to solve and the resources they need. I don’t prescribe solutions or impose my authority unless I’m working in defense of another principle.
  10. I deliver projects that I am proud of and confident in.
  11. I value my teammates beyond the output they produce. Activities like mentoring, reviewing, and discussing are first-class work too.
  12. I will never stop striving to grow and improve.