“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
– Psalm 119:105
In order to succeed and thrive, any group of people (societal, familial, organizational, etc.) must have a set of guiding principles that are both understood and followed by all of its members. Expectations are set and decisions are made in accordance with those principles. They dictate the manner in which the group members will conduct their daily affairs.
As a leader, your team looks for you to define those principles that will light their path. Some foundational principles are likely already in place: a vision statement, the policy binder, and operational procedures. But the brightest portion of that light will come from you: how you conduct yourself, what actions or results you tolerate, and what you prioritize.
Your guiding principles will not only determine how well your team navigates its current path, but how capably they will travel the tougher, more demanding paths of the future. You have likely seen how each successive leader of a team leaves an impression on the team as a whole. What you don’t always see however, is just how lasting that impression may be. Sometimes it can be so ingrained that it becomes extremely difficult for a future leader to alter. For this reason, you must always consider the future of your team over your own immediate gains.
The table below categorizes some basic, illuminating principles and their dimming counterparts. Take a moment to read through each and consider how they compare with the current principles followed by your team. For extra credit, categorize your team’s principles and determine whether they are illuminating or dimming. If you identify any dimming principles, then ask yourself how they can be altered to become illuminating.
So then, what lights your path?