Leaders with principles are less likely to get bullied or pushed around because they can draw clear lines in the sand…The softest pillow is a clear conscience.
—Narayana Murthy, founder and CEO, Infosys
In gaining self-awareness, it is important to identify the values and principles that guide your leadership. The values that form the basis for your True North are derived from your beliefs and convictions. Staying centered on those values is not easy. The temptations and pressures of the outside world often conspire to pull you away from your True North.
David Gergen wanted to lead a life consistent with values he learned from his family and the Durham, North Carolina, community where he grew up. He is the only person to serve as a senior White House adviser to four U.S. presidents: Republicans Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan and Democrat Bill Clinton.
Gergen was 28 when he was hired as a White House speechwriter during Nixon's first term. He had a ringside seat for history as it was being made. “When I first arrived, the power, glamour, and status went to my head,” he said. Years later, he realized how naive and unprepared he was for the events of the next few years—particularly the Watergate scandal.
Initially, his talent and ambition enabled him to become a rising star in the Nixon administration. He recalled, “I was grasping for the brass ring and was as ambitious as everybody else, probably more so.” ...