Develop Critical “People Principles” in 8 Steps
As a leader, it’s essential to peek under the hood periodically and examine the lines of source code—your “People Principles”—that drive your interactions with employees and coworkers.
Think of People Principles as the interpersonal code that powers your “Personal People Operating System,” an application you use when working with other humans. Just as with software applications that you download on your phone, your People Principles are not immune to bugs, glitches, and other issues when the code is sloppy or left uninspected for too long.
If you’re an experienced leader, it’s likely that your People Principles have evolved over time and are running quietly in the background. If this is true, then it’s equally possible that your Personal People Operating System has also been humming along quite nicely without the need for you to think about it or tinker with it.
However, what if I asked you to write down or recite your core People Principles? I suspect you might need to do some serious self-reflection before compiling the list.
One of my core beliefs is that you need to spend time thinking about how you think about things. This involves uncovering and examining the People Principles that drive your Personal People Operating System.
Your Principles should be short, concise, and meaningful.
Here are a few of mine:
- Hire the best people that you can afford.
- Set clear expectations for every person and define what success looks like.
- When employees leave you, treat them well when they depart. (No matter how much you develop and value them, employees are on their own journey, and eventually, their journey will take them away from you.)
Also, each Principle must not conflict with any of the following things:
- Another People Principle
- The organization’s Mission, Vision, and Values
- Your core beliefs
- The law
With this foundation set, let’s explore how you can identify and codify your People Principles. To help you in your efforts, I’ve created a downloadable guide to take you through the eight steps involved. Click here to access the guide.
Remember, your People Principles power your Personal People Operating System. Just like software, your People Principles require attention and upgrades. Principles that do not align with changes in the real world will negatively impact your system’s viability, causing unexpected crashes that may lead to complete system failure.
In other words, what’s worked for you in the past may not work well for you in the future.
So take the time to unearth, list, and iterate your People Principles. You deserve a stable Personal People Operating System and an understanding of how it works.