Employee Experience

What is a Leadership Credo?

4 Mins read

A leadership credo is a short or long written statement that defines your personal or professional philosophy. It’s a way to communicate your beliefs and values to the people around you, so they can better understand how you lead. Most people wondering “What is a leadership credo?” are probably thinking about writing one for themselves. But, you can also write one as a team or for an entire organization.

Why Write a Leadership Credo?

what is a leadership credo

A credo can help you to answer the question “What are we about?” which is critical in inspiring your team, stakeholders and customers. It may even guide your hiring decisions. For example, if you’re interviewing candidates to join your team and they say something that doesn’t align with the leadership credo you’ve written, it doesn’t sound like a promising employee employer relationship. So writing a leadership credo provides focus not only to those within the team but should provide direction for future recruitment efforts as well.

Credos are used by individuals who are interested in becoming leaders or are already leading. For example, many military leadership credos are examples of the types of credos you can write.

How to Write a Leadership Credo?

Before writing your leadership credo, it’s important to understand what one is and why people use them.

  • You should also think about how you want others to view you as a leader, what words would they use to describe you?
  • What do you want them to know about your values, beliefs and how you lead?

Once you have this information, then it will be much easier for you to craft an effective leadership credo that expresses who you are as a leader and gives others something to aspire towards.

Writing Your Leadership Credo

How you write your leadership credo depends on what you want to accomplish with it.

If you want to use a long format, then think about writing a recruitment statement or statement of purpose. This is more personal and allows for introspection and some flexibility in the phrasing, while still keeping to a firm structure.

By contrast, a short format tends to be more direct and presents a specific picture of how you lead. It’s more appropriate when developing something that can be used by your team or organization as a whole. Remember that brevity is best when it comes to both formats, but you should aim for around 10 words in total (if using the short format). If written out long-form simply add the abbreviations.

Short Format

A short inspiration where X inspires Y to Z.

Long Format

To inspire others to be the best they can be is my ultimate goal as a leader. I achieve this by focusing on our core values and staying true to who we are as an organization. Developing my team is also very important, to maintain high levels of morale and eliminate obstacles along the way. This allows us to accomplish even more than what we thought was possible in the beginning when striving for excellence is what drives us all forward together. My leadership style seeks input from my team members at every step of the process, from implementation through implementation review, and I value their opinions above all else so that everyone is always coming from the same mindset. I am constantly growing and learning so that my vision can continually stay in front of me.

Why should I have a leadership credo?

You should have a leadership credo if:

  • You’re a leader, founder, or entrepreneur and you want to communicate your leadership style to colleagues, employees, customers, partners, fundraisers, etc. 
  • You’re an employee and you want to be clear on what your manager expects of you. 
  • You’re in charge of hiring new team members and you need a quick way to assess how well they fit into the company’s culture with just one question (the leadership credo question).
  • You want to improve as a leader but don’t know where to start or who can help you get there most efficiently. A leadership credo is an excellent place to start.
  • You want to design great employee experience touchpoints.

What are some examples of leadership credos? 

leadership credo

There is not a set template on what is a leadership credo, but here are a few real-life examples:

“Leaders should be passionate and display leadership by example. They must have the necessary interpersonal skills to build productive teams that communicate well and embrace change.” 

“A leader is someone you can trust with your ideas and who leads by example. They’re a collaborator whose actions speak louder than words.”

“We believe in freedom of information flow inside the company, transparency, and fair dealing practices with our partners. We make decisions collaboratively, using data to back up our opinions.”

What questions do I need to answer to create my leadership credo? 

Some good fundamental questions include: 

  • What makes a good leader? 
  • What experiences have shaped your leadership style the most? 
  • What makes you a better leader than others? 
  • What do you want to achieve by having a leadership credo and who will it benefit?

There is no one correct way to write your leadership credo. Just make sure that what you create reflects who you are and how you lead for your colleagues or employees to know exactly where they stand.

How can I make my leadership credo unique to me? 

By thinking about the following questions, you’ll be able to better understand your values as a leader and principal them into your credo: 

  • What are the most important principles that guide my leadership philosophy? 
  • Who inspires me as a leader and why? 
  • How do those people inspire me? 
  • How did I develop my leadership style and why do I lead the way that I do? 
  • What values are most important to me as a leader, and how do they guide my actions?

With this set of guidelines you now could have an answer to a very common question, “What is a leadership credo?” and most importantly you could be ready to write your very own.

Read more: Fombrun Model of HRM

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