On Leadership: Know yourself

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I recently came across an article written by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. on values-based leadership.  Mr. Jansen Kraemer is a professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and published a book on this topic entitled From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-based Leadership.

Mr. Jansen Kraemer teaches his students that to become the best kind of leader isn’t about emulating a role model or a historic figure.  Rather, your leadership must be rooted in who you are and what matters most to you. When you truly know yourself and what you stand for, it is much easier to know what to do in any situation.

The following are Mr. Jansen Kraemer’s four principles of values-based leadership:

  1. Self-reflection: You must have the ability to identify and reflect on what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most to you. To be a values-based leader, you must be willing to look within yourself through regular self-reflection and strive for greater self-awareness. After all, if you aren’t self-reflective, how can you truly know yourself? If you don’t know yourself, how can you lead yourself? If you can’t lead yourself, how can you lead others?
  2. Balance, which means the ability to see situations from multiple perspectives and differing viewpoints to gain a much fuller understanding. Balance means that you consider all sides and opinions with an open mind.
  3. True Self-confidence, accepting yourself as you are. You recognize your strengths and your weaknesses and strive for continuous improvement. With true self-confidence you know that there will always be people who are more gifted, accomplished, successful and so on than you, but you’re OK with who you are.
  4. Genuine Humility. Never forget who you are or where you came from. Genuine humility keeps life in perspective, particularly as you experience success in your career. In addition, it helps you value each person you encounter and treat everyone respectfully.

I agree with Mr. Jansen Kraemer’s thoughts on this.

Here is a link to the full article:


Lead by principle.  Be an axiom leader.

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