Value based leadership

Posted on August 26, 2011

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In a world in which ruthless exploitation and competition, self serving behaviours and instability seem to be the norms, value based leadership holds a number of extraordinary promises that any sensible leader would dream of: self managing employees; lesser need for supervision and control; greater respect between people; increased enthusiasm and dedication to the task; service oriented mentalities; more genuine corporate culture; socially responsible and environmentally friendly work practices; reputation of reliability, fairness and honesty; team bonding; more humaneness in relationship; trust and loyalty; enhanced integrity and accountability; enhanced decision making which contributes to the vision whilst building on trust; greater commitment of team members, customers and shareholders; increased flexibility and ‘intelligence’; enhanced performance; better integration work / personal life; clarity of purpose, mission and vision; increased job and personal satisfaction through a deeper sense of meaning; increased self esteem; role modeling in society; potential legacy; etc. The list could be longer.

The essential characteristic of values based leadership is the belief that the welfare of people is the end of leadership and not that people are the means to the leader’s goals.

Mother Theresa spelt out the ultimate secret of leadership when she was invited to speak at a leadership conference and captured the attention of participants with this ‘definition’, “If you want to lead your people, you first have to understand them. If you want to understand your people, you have to love them. Do you love your people? Ultimately, it is not the magnitude of our actions that matters but the amount of love that we put into them.”

Is it so simple? Yes and no. Yes at the level of your attitude where the answer is absolute; no at the level of ‘organising’ your business where it takes some work to set up a structure that will reflect values and the concern you have toward your business, your people and you world.

In concrete terms, value based leadership is the intention given to and the attention paid to aligning a community or an organization’s values, mission and vision with its strategy, performance management, rewards, processes and systems. It is essentially about cultivating a purposeful consistency in your organization, allowing a culture of genuine sincerity, trust and collaboration to flourish and endeavoring to do what you say at all times. Value based leadership is a system; it takes into consideration the whole organization that it organizes around well defined core values.

Core values are the “sacred” fundamental convictions that employees have about how they want – and therefore must – behave in the context of the organization’s mission.

Core values are timeless and changeless guiding principles which underlie and reflect an organization’s or an individual’s mission. Core values guide behavior – they guide the behavior and the decision-making of the entire workforce on a daily basis. They form the enduring character of a community, team or an organization – its identity in a sense. Vision, strategy, processes and systems can change in response to changes in the economy or in market trends but a company should not change its values. [read more …]

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