Everyone has their own philosophy of core beliefs and values in life. It is possible to determine who a person is by the values that they deem most important. Ultimately, without established values, there would be little knowledge of meaning and purpose in life as well as no basis to leadership.
For the purpose of this paper, I will clearly articulate what I believe are the guiding principles in my life, discussing only the key values that are central to who I am and what I stand for.
To begin my discussion, I will first discuss the key value which I believe has shaped the person that I am today. I strongly believe that family has been the most influential in shaping my moral landscape, and is thus the most important value that I possess. My parents were, and are the biggest influence in my life and have instilled within me some of my most upheld values today. Growing up, my parents would constantly remind me of the importance of good manners. I was always told to treat others as I would expect to be treated and to lend a helping hand to those in need. I learned to be myself and be proud of who I am and where I came from. My parents have taught me to be respectable, independent, and honest. It was through their guidance that I was able to become the well-mannered young adult that I am today. I can say without a doubt that my parents are the biggest role models in my life. I put a great deal of meaning into the relationships that I have with my family and am grateful to have such a blessing. They have not only shaped the person that I am today, but will shape the person that I am in the future. In learning what my parents have taught me, from childhood, to the present, I know that one day I will be able to act as not only a great role model for my children, but as an excellent leader as well. I believe that my valuing of family has opened my eyes to have greater respect for others who also value their families with high regards.
My father grew up in a small family, with little money. Not wanting to take the same route as his parents, my father decided to go university and obtain a Business degree. After graduation, he started working for a large technology company called 3M. After 35 years of service, his commitment, hard-work, and determination has helped him to become very successful within his respective field of work. In watching my father work very hard throughout the years to give his family a comfortable lifestyle, inside and outside of work, I came to value hard-work and determination as two very influential values in my life. The influence of what my father was able to accomplish as a direct result of his own efforts and dedication to his goals, has resulted in me attempting to instil those exact same values into my own life. My parents have taught me from a very young age to develop goals and I was often told that if I work hard at them and remain committed, I will one day achieve my goals. Striving for a hard-work ethic does impact my ability to lead, in a way that I will be determined to motivate and encourage my followers to achieve our common goals. Followers are also likely to follow my lead as a hard worker and develop their own hard-work ethic.
Although I believe that hard-work and determination are two very powerful values, they are certainly not the only values that I consider important. I am a strong advocate for honesty as I have great respect for people who feel compelled to tell the truth. My grandmother is a very honest and sincere woman, and because of this, she is highly respected by others around her. Having complete trust in someone you are close to is a comforting feeling. Knowing that I can talk to my grandmother about my problems at any time is very reassuring. I trust her dearly and I know that she would give me her honest opinion in any circumstance. I also feel obligated to act in an honest matter in my everyday life. I do not like the thought of lying and it’s very hard for me to unconsciously deceive others, whether they are strangers, friends, or family. Moreover, along with honesty, I also highly value how I see myself and how others perceive me. For that reason I value my own integrity as yet another significant value. I ideally would like to be thought of as a dependable and reliable individual, both by my family and friends, as well as co-workers. Being seen in the eyes of others as an honest, dependable individual boosts my social relations as well as my dignity as a leader. A reliable leader comes with the qualities of trust, honesty, and consistency. If a leader is influencing a follower, integrity is a crucial characteristic to possess. As a leader, a high degree of integrity helps to build strong personal relationships with my followers.
The final value in which I strongly believe in is equality. As a high school student I had learned through my best friend, what the true definition of equality really meant. In the early years of high school, I had met a friendly African-American student. We had clicked right away and before long we were spending most of our time together. I had noticed right away that my friend was being bullied because of her ethnicity. She was constantly bombarded with racial remarks, and although she let on that it didn’t bother her, I knew that deep down inside of her, her emotions were soaring. Because of the frequent tormenting that she experienced through most of her school days, I came to acknowledge the fact that not everyone is treated as an equal. This really inspired me to become friends with international students who were also being bullied because of their skin colour, religion, and/or cultural differences. Other students saw that I, along with many of my close friends, were welcoming of the victimized students. By inviting them into our close knit group of friends, allowed other students to view the African-American ethnicity as not just ‘a racial group’. Other students followed our lead, and began to see that these discredited students had emotions and feelings just like the rest of us. I can say in a sense that I, along with my close friends, acted as a leader. We not only stimulated social relationships with these international students, but made them feel at home at their high school. My new friends were no longer being harassed on a daily basis because of their differences. Students no longer ‘judged the book by its cover’ but rather accepted them as an equal individual.
In conclusion, I will again state that the values discussed throughout this paper were only a few key values that I consider to be central to my beliefs and guiding principles. They are however, not the only values that I feel strongly about. These values are nevertheless the values which are likely to have the biggest impact when it comes to shaping who I am today. These values will in no doubt act as the guiding principles necessary to succeed in leadership. As Stephen Covey states, “Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them”.
Written by: Jessica Hooper