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Principle-Centered Leadership: A Leadership Model for Success

By: Rick Karges, LISW-S, ACSW

It is not uncommon for many aspiring or accomplished service-oriented professionals to be called upon to assume leadership or management responsibilities, either formally or informally. This is often due the nature and scope of our training and ability to function as decision-makers, advocates and "change agents." This leadership role is often an inherent part of the core beliefs, values and principles that guide our personal and professional orientation and purpose. Either at an operational or strategic level, we may be charged with filling critical responsibilities that enable us to facilitate a process of progress, growth and change and as service-oriented professionals are ideally suited, trained and philosophically oriented to be effective principle-centered leaders.

It is important that we also recognize, promote and embrace this role as an essential aspect of who we are, what we do and how we serve others as leaders guided by a core set of professional values, beliefs and principles.

What is principle-centered leadership?

Principle-centered leadership “embraces the principles of fairness and kindness and makes better use of the talents of people for increased efficiency, but also leads to quantum leaps in personal and organizational effectiveness” The concept is based around a Leader has to empower the followers and trust them. They in turn empower the leader and trust the Leader. - Steven Covey

The practice and application of principled -centered leadership is also rooted in the works of Helen Harris Bartlett (1967) that incorporates ascribing to such core values as:

· Upholding and promoting Personal dignity and Respect

· Establishing a culture of Trust

· Respecting the Right to self-determination

· Maintaining a non-judgmental attitude

· Advocating for positive Change

· Working within the context of family, community and society

· Helping others maximize their potential, strengths and their abilities

The concept of Principle-Centered Leadership also incorporates promoting our role as leaders; educating others; exemplifying and defining ourselves as “leadership change agents”; advocates, principled in our approach and driven by a common base of values and practices that promotes maximizing the potential, abilities and worth of those people, their resources and organizations and communities we serve. It is further building professional regard, responsibility and identity as leading the way to progress, growth and change. Finally, it is important that we are, as principle-centered leaders, are truly “out in front” and leading by example from a thinking, acting, inspirational, motivational and collectively unifying way.

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