In a world of ruthless exploitation and competition, where self-serving behaviors and instability seem to be the norms, values-based leadership holds several extraordinary promises that any sensible leader would want to realize:
1. Self-managing employees with less need for supervision and control.
2. A more genuine corporate culture with greater respect between people.
3. Increased enthusiasm and clarity of mission and vision.
4. Service oriented mindsets.
5. Socially responsible and environmentally friendly work practices.
6. Reputation of reliability, fairness, trust and honesty.
7. Enhanced integrity, accountability, decision making and performance.
8. Greater commitment of team members, customers and all stakeholders.
9. Increased flexibility and intelligence.
10. Better integration of work and life leading to job and personal satisfaction.
The essential characteristic of values-based leadership is that the welfare of people is the goal of the leader and not that people are the means to the leader’s goal.
Ultimately, it’s not the magnitude of our actions that matters but the amount of care and concern we invest in our people. If you want to lead your people, you first have to understand them. If you want to understand them, you have to really care about them. Do you care about your people?
So, is it really that simple? Yes and no!
Yes at the level of your attitude where the answer is an absolute; no at the level of organizing your business, where it takes a significant amount of work to set up a structure that will reflect values and the concern you have toward your business, your people and your world.
In concrete terms, values-based leadership is the intention and attention paid to aligning a community or an organization’s values, mission and vision with its strategy, performance management, rewards, processes and systems.
It’s essentially about cultivating a purposeful consistency in the organization, allowing a culture of genuine sincerity, trust and collaboration to flourish, and endeavoring to do what you always say.
Value based leadership is a system that takes into consideration the whole organization and organizes it around well-defined core values.
Core values are fundamental convictions that employees have about how they want to behave in the context of the organization’s mission. They’re guiding principles which underlie and reflect an organization’s or an individual’s mission. They guide the behavior and the decision-making of the entire workforce daily.
They form the enduring character of a community, team or an organization and its identity. Vision, strategy, processes and systems can change in response to changes in the economy or in market trends, but an organization’s values should remain firm and unchanged.
If more organizations practiced a values-based approach to leadership versus a directed, authoritarian approach, they would experience what the data has supported for a very long time; a level of performance and profitability that would exceed their expectations year over year.
I worked in just such an environment for 27 years with the largest company on the planet. It was pretty much more fun than I’ve ever had in a workplace environment since. The only reason I left was when it stopped being fun because of a slow shift in the culture from one that cared more about the employees to one that cared more about the shareholders.
Truth be told, that kind of shift isn’t fun for anyone.