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Our doctors take they Hippocratic Oath swearing to ethically treat their patients, and to follow an ideal conduct as a physician.  In a conversation with a client, she casually suggested that leaders should take a Leadership Oath.  Ethics and ideal conduct are not limited to physicians and are fitting for leaders.  So what follows is a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath.  As suggested by my client, what follows is my version of the Leadership Oath.

I present it to you for conversation.

I swear to fulfill to the best of my ability and judgment this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won leadership gains of those managers in whose step I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as well as mine to those who follow after me.

I will apply, for the benefit of my employees, community, and society, all measures that are required, avoiding those twin traps of control and absence of leadership.

I will remember that there is art to leadership as well as science, and that compassion, courage, and understanding employees’ ideas may outweigh the logic of balance sheets or strategic growth.

I will not be ashamed to say “ I don’t know,” nor will I fail to call upon experts when their skills are needed for employee and organizational success.

I recognize that my experiences create biases that limit my perspective; therefore, I will cultivate a culture of inquiry amongst my peers to invite others to help me see possibilities beyond my viewpoint.

I will respect the needs of my employees to grow as human beings, and do what I can to support their development in ways that help them better contribute to the organization and society.

I will respect the privacy of my employees.  I will do what I can to support employees’ needs for work and life integration.

I will respect the need to support the growth and transformation of the organization.  Most especially must I tread with care in matters of ethics and integrity.  If it is given to me to “save the life” of an organization, I must call upon the two and act accordingly with all stakeholders.  It may also be within my power to terminate employees; this awesome responsibility must be faced with humanity, humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.  Above all, I must not put myself before others.

I will prevent “organizational disease” whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to “cures.”  I will remember that I remain a member of the community and of society, with special obligations to my fellow human beings, those who report to me as well as those who work and live nearby.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter.  May I always act so as to preserve the finest actions and ways of being of leadership, and may I long experience the joy of being a leader.

Shawn Murphy
Founder, Principal Consultant at Achieved Strategies. We help organizations redefine how they create value. And we love to do this by bringing people, strategy, and leadership together. Connect with Shawn at his website, his LeadChange Profile, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Shawn Murphy

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