In December, as I was reflecting, journaling and setting my intention for 2022, I recalled the Five Leadership Principles I learned about 20-ish years ago, which I found quite impactful. I have no real idea why they came to mind now, but I can only assume that I am being guided to pursue these principles and incorporate them into my life and work this year. So that’s what I’m doing! 

Over these next five weeks, I’ll be unpacking one of these five principles and sharing my thoughts with you. These five principles are: 

  • Model the Way 
  • Inspire a Shared Vision 
  • Challenge the Process 
  • Enable others to Act 
  • Encourage the Heart 

What Does it Mean to ‘Model the Way’? 

It’s worth noting that this is listed as the very first leadership principle. I’ve been wondering why. I also notice that I feel a little bristly when I hear/read a phrase like this. Feels ‘should-y’, like ‘you SHOULD set a good example’ and ‘you SHOULD act a certain way (whether genuine or ingenuine) so others will [do whatever]’. Blech. I personally DO want to model the way for others, but when I fall into ‘trying’ to be or act a certain way to meet some spoken or unspoken expectation or obligation, it never works. First of all, I am automatically in resistance, and secondly, being in a state where I ‘make’ myself do something is just never sustainable. It doesn’t last (cough*new year’s resolutions* cough). 

Just Be You  

I believe there is a way to build our leadership capacity and model the way without falling into the trap of fakeness and striving. Here’s my process: 

  1. Know thyself. I use a process called a ‘Personal Being Statement’, where I – and people who work with me – create a statement that declares who we really are, at our core. The real, best, highest me. It’s a bit of a process, but very worth it. Connect with me if you want to walk through this. You can also read my blog post on creating a personal Being Statement at  
  1. See a Daily Intention. I have written my Personal Being Statement as a daily intention. I have it on a sticky note that is pinned on my makeup mirror. Every morning, when I am getting ready for the day, I reflect on that statement, and on who I am. Then I think about what I have on for the day, and how I want to feel, and how I want to show up. With purpose and intention, I make a declaration for how I am going to feel and how I am going to show up that day. Let me tell you, it’s pretty powerful stuff! 
  1. Choose to Live in your Values. Having that daily intention written out and being able to use it as a reminder throughout the day has saved me many times. As life goes, there are always opportunities for things to go sideways in the course of the day, whether it’s a printer breakdown or an interaction that doesn’t feel good. In those moments, I have the opportunity to play ‘small’, feel sorry for myself, get frustrated, and generally react in an unbecoming way. If I have done my daily intention work at the beginning of the day, almost inevitably, I will be reminded of who I am at those critical times, which gives me the opportunity to choose to press into and show up as my highest self. This means I not only end up feeling a lot better, but also, without having to ‘try’ or strive, I model the way for others.  

I encourage you to check out the book The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Pozner. It’s a worthy read.  

Until next time, stay on point!