New leaders need a philosophy about how they’ll lead

Being promoted into a position of leadership is an exciting time! For some, it is a recognition of your experience and achievements, for others, a vote of confidence in your potential.

Understanding, and then accepting what it takes to be an excellent leader of others – can be challenging for many. The things that made you who you are, that form a key part of your identity, may not be what is critical to success in your new leadership role. As we wrote about in a blog entitled ‘Leading people when they know more than you’, the things that made you successful before, might be the things you need to ‘let go of’ to be successful in the next passage of leadership. New skills need to be developed and some of the old ones need to be left behind.

Carol Walker (HBR September 15, 2015) wrote, ‘your job is no longer just about getting the work done. You’re more likely now to find yourself juggling conflicting demands, delivering difficult messages, and addressing performance problems.’ Whilst there are plenty of books, articles and blogs giving you suggestions about ways to handle your new challenges, there is no simple checklist that gives you the easy answer. As Carol Walker writes in her post, and as we have shared with our Discovery in Action® program participants, ‘having a clear (leadership) philosophy can provide a firm foundations from which to operate.’


She suggests a core belief or philosophy / way of thinking –

that people leadership is not about YOU!


Echoing the principles of ‘servant leadership’ she suggests new leaders ask themselves these 2 simple questions :

What will it take for this employee to be successful?

What does this organisation need to provide in order to hold up to its end of the bargain?

How would you answer these questions? What can you do to help facilitate each team member’s success in your organisation?

leadership philosophy basics

Click here to see full article called ‘New Managers need a philosophy about how they’ll lead’.

This concept of having a leadership philosophy is consistent with our Discovery in Action program. With DIA, we go one step further : participants develop their own unique people leadership model – consisting of beliefs about when people perform at their best, as well as the detailed actions and behaviours that support those beliefs. This is tested with those they lead, and each leader identifies an action plan to help leverage their strengths, and tackle any gaps.


If you want to know more about our Discovery in Action leadership program, please contact us.

If you are an alumni of the DiA program, get out your model, and start the year with a fresh reminder about what people need to be their best, and how you can help make that happen!