I Avoided Compromising These Three Things As I Climbed The Organizational Ladder

I am thankful I served as the superintendent of school’s during the last 4 years of my chosen profession. I enjoyed this challenging role. There were days where it was very demanding and stretched me to my leadership limits. Most of the days though, it was a positive and rewarding experience. There were three things I worked very hard to avoid. I avoided compromising 3 things as I climbed the organizational ladder. I tried not to change my purpose, core values and non-negotiable beliefs established in my previous position as assistant superintendent.

Ambition and Desire

The importance of defining and sharing your purpose, values and non-negotiable beliefs was a critical step in establishing trust with the people whom I was responsible for. I spent a considerable amount time doing so in the three years as assistant superintendent. Yet, as my desire to rise to the superintendent’s position increased, my purpose, values and beliefs were susceptible to change. Not because they weren’t right for the superintendent’s position, but because of the ambition and desire to reach the “top”.

I don’t believe that it is wrong to have ambition and/or desire. It is important that leaders strive to achieve a key leadership position. I also don’t think that many leaders set out with the intent to alter their purpose, values and beliefs. Yet ego, status, competitiveness and increased compensation can increase the probability to do so.

It is important that your purpose, values and beliefs should not be changed and molded based on your ambition or what your board of directors feel they should be or want them to be. Your leadership should be based on a strong foundation of authenticity where your purpose, values and beliefs are communicated openly. And once they are communicated, they should not be subject to change based on the desires of others or your own selfish needs and wants.

Some Strategies

To avoid compromising these 3 things I would suggest some strategies.

  1. If you have not done so, it is time to establish, define and communicate your purpose, values and beliefs.
  2. Periodically review and fine-tune your purpose, values and belief statements and continue to communicate them to your team.
  3. Prepare and implement a survey asking those whom you lead to assess how you are doing at activating and living out your purpose, values and beliefs.
  4. Get an accountability partner who will provide you with an open and honest assessment of how you are doing in living out your purpose, values and beliefs.

Rising to the top of the organizational ladder can be an exhilarating and beneficial experience. But it can also be stressful when your purpose, values and beliefs are put to the test. Stay grounded in who you are, what you believe in and what your purpose is. Avoid the forces that will entice you as you climb the organizational ladder.