What if we took leadership vows to uphold a small number of principles and moral commitments? As leaders, we have the power to affect the lives of tens, hundreds, even thousands. Shouldn’t we commit to act in ways that enhance their well being and our own?
Leadership vows make a lot of sense to me. In fact, the more I think about them the more I approve the idea. How about you?
We vow to uphold certain moral principles when we get married, testify in court or take public office. Sometimes we put our hand on a holy text and swear an oath to G-d that we will behave in accordance with these principles.
To tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me G-d.
I do solemnly swear to…“preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
To have and to hold, in sickness and in health till death do us part.
To love what I know of you, trust what I do not yet know, to respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us. (Non-denominational wedding vows)
When we take an oath, we are also vowing not to act in ways that violate these vows. To tell the whole truth means I will not tell a lie of omission or co-mission. To death do us part means I’m not abandoning you, no matter what.
Why we take vows
We pledge our vows because we understand that being human means being tempted to veer off the path of our intentions. By taking our vows in the presence of others, we’re holding ourselves accountable to the larger community of which we are a member.
- Loved ones
- Jury of our peers
- Fellow citizens
While it’s not a foolproof system, it does help.
Once I suggested to a group of managers on the same leadership team, that they stand up to show their commitment to maintain confidential information the CEO was about to share. They claimed it was a very powerful action and continue to use it as a show of commitment.
Leaders, who affect the lives of many, should take vows as well, but what principles should they pledge an oath to uphold?
6 Leadership Vows
I suggest we begin as doctors do.
- I vow not to cause harm
- I vow to be respectful of others
- I vow to be kind
- Of note, kindness originates from kyndness, which means produce, increase, so this vow might increase productivity.
- I vow to walk my talk
- I vow to listen with the intention of seeking to understand
- Vow number 6 is your’s to choose. What will you pledge an oath to uphold? What will you stand for, and stand up for at all times?
It is part of our human nature to fail our commitments on occasions. When we do, it’s an opportunity to recommit and begin again.