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May 20, 2023

Background Information:


A leadership philosophy is derived from how we see ourselves as leaders. Our philosophy impacts our actions, guides our behaviors, and helps us as we think about our career. Leadership philosophies typically change as we grow to understand our actions and behaviors within the context of leading.

Creating or finding our leadership philosophy means that we must explore and reflect upon your beliefs, personal values, and assumptions about leadership.

Beliefs are our trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something. Our beliefs directly impact how we view situations and ourselves. Many times, our beliefs come from our traditions or from the culture in organizations. Many times, we behave in organizations according to the beliefs of the organization. This can be a problem when the beliefs of the organization counter our own.

Personal values guide our intentions and influence how we lead. When our personal values are clear and we are aware of them, we can then formulate a solid foundation for leading. Just as we have personal values, organizations also have values. It works best when these values are aligned.

Assumptions are notions that are accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. Assumptions are a combination of our world view and our personal view. Most of the time, we are not aware of the assumptions we hold. And most of us are unwilling to admit that our assumptions drive our interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. We are less willing to change our assumptions even after realizing they exist.

Assignment Instructions:

During this activity, you will develop a personal philosophy of leadership. The following three exercises will assist you in developing your personal Philosophy of Leadership Statement.

This assignment expresses qualities of Capacity Building, Learning and Development and Developing a Personal Philosophy of Leadership.


The following is an exercise to help you create, find, or define your personal philosophy of leadership.

Exercise 1: Identifying Your Leadership Values

From the list below, pick five core values that you feel describe and guide who you are as a nurse leader. You may choose other values that are not on this list. Place them in the following chart and answer the questions in the matrix.




















Performance Oriented


Culturally aware




Development Oriented






Team Oriented

Other values that you would like to include but are not on the list?

Identifying Your Leadership Values


List your values here

Personal Definition of Values

List here your definition of these values here

How do you envision these values playing out in your nursing leadership?






Exercise 2: Uncovering Your Leadership Assumptions

Answer the following questions about leadership. By reflecting on these questions, you will find what assumptions are driving your leadership thinking. For each of the questions in this section, ask yourself:

Write two narratives about leadership. One narrative should describe a positive experience you’ve had with leadership and the second narrative should describe a time when you had a negative experience with leadership. (in one page or less)
How might others (co-workers, friends, supervisors) see the situations I described differently?
What were my assumptions?
What influenced my assumptions?
Write your definition of leadership.
Describe the individuals or organizations that influenced your leadership definition.
Describe how the leader in your positive narrative gained credibility? What could the leader in your negative narrative have done differently to positively impact their credibility?
Exercise 3: Finalizing Your Leadership Philosophy

Now that you’ve identified your leadership beliefs, you are now ready to write your leadership philosophy using the responses above written in the present tense.

Your leadership philosophy should be a statement that consists of your responses from the above exercises. Start by writing an initial draft of your philosophy. Revise it as often as you need. Remember, your philosophy can change depending on where you are at with your leadership.

The following is a sample philosophy statement consisting of one sentence statements. Remember, you can write your philosophy in any way that makes sense to you.

My Leadership Philosophy is…

Leadership is a journey and combines personal and professional successes.

It is important to reflect on my leadership and its implications on others.

I value integrity in personal and professional development.

Now put it all together.

Integrity is the heart of my leadership. I reflect on my own integrity as an integral part of my leadership journey. I know that my professional and personal successes directly relate to my core value of integrity.

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