Join Britt Andreatta for an in-depth discussion in this video Leading with vision and values, part of Leadership Foundations.
How much do you think people trust you? By far and away above any other skill you can cultivate, your most precious asset is actually your integrity. This is why values based leadership is so important. Having integrity means acting and speaking in consistent accordance with your values. There's no one right set of values, but you do have to be clear about what your set of values are. To be a good leader, you must be grounded in who you are and what matters to you. When you truly know yourself and what you stand for, it's much easier to make decisions and take action.
The right choice in any situation becomes more obvious, when you have a north star to guide you. Having a clear set of values will help you navigate the complex and ever changing world. Not the least of which is your professional environment. There have been several international studies that have measured what people look for in their leaders. And a consistent finding is that people like working for leaders who do two things. One, they lead from their values, and two, they share an inspiring vision for the future. These two things are clearly connected. If you're grounded in your values, you can build a culture of trust and transparency.
And simultaneously, your values will compel you toward a future that is meaningful. You just have to articulate your values and your vision for others to see. This is also true for an organization. Having a clearly articulated set of values and a vision for the future both contribute to a healthy and positive culture. But it can't just be lip service. Do you know what happens when the senior management's behavior is inconsistent with the core values? It creates mistrust, cynicism and low performance among the employees. And the reverse is also true. When leaders walk their talk, employees see them as credible and trustworthy. Which drives higher levels of morale, engagement, and productivity. So the first step to leading the vision of values is to get clear about what your core values are.
Some examples of values are things like quality, dependability, autonomy, perserverance, and humor. While you may have lots of values, keep it down to just a handful that become the cornerstone or guiding star of your leadership. I've included a simple but compelling activity in the exercise files to help you do this. Next, it's very important to find ways to share your values with others. Your core values should be evident everyday in the things you say and the actions you take. Find ways to weave them into conversations and demonstrate them in your efforts. This is how you build your credibility by consistently talking your talk and then walking it.
Third let your values guide you to what you want to create. You need to find the vision that inspires you first and then you can get others on board by sharing your excitement. Let's look at some examples. Steve Jobs inspiring vision was to create powerful computers that were beautifully simple in design and function. Ben and Jerry wanted to make rich and creamy, fun and chunky ice cream flavors using all natural and fair trade ingredients and Martin Luther King Junior had a dream that all children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Your vision may be large and international or it could be small and local. Size is not important. All that matters is that you are clear and committed about your goal. Last but not least, you need to be relentless in your pursuit of your vision. That's to say that you are consistent and persistent. You may learn lessons and make changes over time but the guiding vision and the values that drive them should endure. So first get clear about what you value and what you stand for. Then you can use the rest of the leadership tools, we cover in this course to help you achieve your vision.
- What is leadership, and when are you leading?
- Mapping your leadership competencies
- Dealing with changing scope and stakes
- Motivating and engaging others
- Increasing team performance
- Developing political acumen
- Creating a culture of trust and integrity
- Developing resilience<br><br>
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