Why is it important to have values that are exhibited in everything your leaders say and do?
And why does the leader with strong values create a successful organisation?
Well, let’s start by clarifying what we mean by values. We are all aware of the big corporate view of values – important statements that are plastered all over the web site and perhaps even thrust upon employees “here are our values – now adhere to them!” possibly being the implicit message.
I’m not talking about these kinds of values.
I’m referring to what I call “what really matters here”. Because all too often the corporate values are not demonstrated in the day to day life of the business.
We all have our personal hierarchy of values, the things that matter, and these drive the way we live our lives. When the business’s day to day working values do not match our own it creates a dissonance and we can become increasingly anxious.
When values do not match you will find levels of engagement fall or are even non existent. This is why Leaders must not only work from values, but also ensure that these match the team.
What is Values Led Leadership?
“Values Led Leadership” is a leadership style that focuses on tying together the emotional environment with the business’s goals and aspirations (and this is demonstrated by my Affective Leadership Plan).
I think, at this stage, I should point out that a leader without a business goal is going nowhere, so we need to keep clear about the overall plan for the business. But the way in which this is carried out will make the difference between an emotionally engaged and successful workforce and a transactionally engaged or disengaged workforce.
I think that some business leaders worry that Values Leadership is a bit fluffy, but this is not the case. It is a structured process and vital to the psychology of successful team work:
1. You have to clarify what the actual business values are – this means what are the things that lead to success in your business.
2. You need to be clear about what really matters to you as a leader
3. You then develop your hierarchy of values, looking at all your key values and then identifying them in order of priority and importance.
4. Next review if some of your values are at odds with what you want to achieve. This is an important step, frequently values are incongruent with business goals, and until the leader notices she can’t fix it and develop her team to effectively deliver.
5. Then the same process is applied for the team members
6. Finally we review where are values overlap and also notice where we may wish to improve the importance or some or reduce the importance of others on our hierarchy.
A leader should never ever try to influence the top values of any team member or try to change her own top values. Those that fall into the top three will drive your actions and behaviours, and stress is the only result if you are working against these core values.
These first few steps will take you some of the way towards becoming a Values Led Leader.