May 4, 2016

Most people have a hard time defining their leadership philosophy, said Drew Dudley, founder of Nuance Leadership Development Services, who works with organizations to empower employees to increase their leadership capacity. “Developing a personal leadership philosophy takes a little homework.”

Doing the work necessary to formulate a philosophy begins with identifying core values, he said.

“Your philosophy is the approach or thought process you consistently employ, regardless of the situation. It’s based on your core values, what you stand for on a daily basis, things like self-respect and empowerment.”

To discover your core values, Dudley recommended compiling “a list of 30 things you’ve learned in life and in work, the insights or advice you’d share with someone to make their life better than yours. Advice is always based on lived experiences – things that worked or didn’t – and it is the best way to define your core values.”

The next step is to “reflect on the foundational values behind each piece of advice. What value or values are you encouraging people to better embody by giving that piece of advice?” Make a list of the values most frequently used and “those are your core values.”

Dudley said his core values are impact (the value of creating positive interactions for others), passion, growth, empowerment, class and self-respect. To ensure he lives them each day, he has created a checklist of self-posed questions that measure daily success.

Growth is an increase in the capacity to add value to life or business, said Dudley. So every night he asks, “What did I try today that might not work, but I tried anyway? I answer it differently every day. Even if the day has been a total Gong Show, if all I did was make the barista smile, then, for that moment, I was the man I wanted to be.”

As it is in aviation, the checklist is the key to sustained success as a leader, said Dudley. The consequences of not posing the checklist questions every day can be negative.

“Leadership is about long-term vision, about creating a culture founded on your core values.” Skip too many checklists, and “your values slide, your life is reactionary, you’re doing what others expect from you and you end up not feeling like a person who can call yourself a leader.”

NBAA Director of Educational Development and Strategy Jo Damato, CAM, urges business aviation professionals who have defined their personal leadership philosophy to share their thoughts with others on the Business Aviation Leadership LinkedIn group, which was created by the Business Aviation Management Committee.