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As an executive you are able to effect and shape your organization's culture.  In this article, we'll discuss healthy and self-defeating organizations; and then we'll look at three types of personal power.

The Self Defeating Organization

Some organizations unknowingly create an atmosphere of pervasive fear. They rule through excessive criticism and intimidation. Compared to a healthy company which rules through mutuality and trust, there are hidden costs that in the end, can defeat the corporation

Similarly if a firm is out of step with its core values, then often, one value is espoused,  (such as truth)  while another is actually lived and becomes the norm (such as deception). Many good people will either fight with such a system or leave it. Others will simply hide out. Over time an insidious cynicism can dominate the mood of the firm, and  in reality, these cynical attitudes become the core values and operational mode of the company - a self-defeating organization.

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In contrast, in a healthy organization, the core values and goals are clearly articulated and continuously used as touchstones on the path to success. People are motivated by the the atmosphere of openness and trust that their work and ideas will be appreciated and rewarded.

Leadership Styles

Whatever your organization, you can impact your company through your words, actions and example - through the style of leadership you embody. In his book, "Principle Centered Leadership" Stephen Covey talks about 3 types of power.

Principle Centered Leadership

emphasizes trust and honor in relationships. People are glad to follow and be influenced by someone who they feel honors and respects them. This is the most influential kind of power and we will discuss it in more detail in a moment.


Utility Leadership

is based on: I support your issue, you support mine.


Coercive Power

emphasizes the use of fear. In this model, you find both the self-defeating organization described above and the 'bully". The "bully" is very unpleasant to work for, but he may be very powerful because people are afraid of his   relentless, offensive and often subtle attacks.




Principle Centered Leadership


Stephen Covey explains  that Principle Centered Power is a rare talent. "It is a mark of quality, distinction and excellence in all relationships. It is based on honor, with the leader honoring the follower and the follower choosing to contribute because the leader is also honored.


           "The hallmark of principle-centered power is a sustained, proactive influence...To be proactive

             is to continually make choices based on deeply held values...And principle-centered power is

             not forced, it is invited...Power is created when individuals perceive their leaders as honorable,

             so they trust them and are inspired by them, believe deeply in the gals communicated by them

             and desire to be led..." 105


Creating your Leadership Style


Working as a passionate, empowered executive is a wonderful way to spend your day. No matter the kind of company you work for, you can have significant impact. You can learn, as Covey says, to live 'from the inside-out' so that your words and actions reflect your deepest values. This way of thinking and acting creates tremendous trust and influence.


As a coach and a psychologist, I work with executives and their families, to help them master the art of authentic, principle-centered living. With support and the use of state-of-the-art psychological techniques, you can become who you want to be. To learn more, and to develop your own executive style, please give me a call.

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