Nothing will give your leadership more certainty, more sure-footedness, than by leading out of your deeply held values.
“Values-driven leadership”, as it is often known, is leadership that flows out those ideals which define your core essence. Leadership which flows out of these values allows you to make sure decisions which are not based on the changing whims of situations or prevailing opinions. Instead, they sit on a solid bedrock of unchanging principles.
The result is leadership that is strong, unwavering and compelling.
So how do you know if you are, in fact, practicing this type of leadership? How can you tell if your leadership truly qualifies as being “values driven”?
Such leadership is marked by at least five distinguishing features.
1. Values driven leadership is clear and transparent.
When people see your leadership in action, they should be able to spot your values from a mile away. There should be no mystery, nor surprises as to the undergirding principles that drive your decisions.
2. Values driven leadership is authentic.
You don’t select values like items off a McDonalds menu board. Your values exist within you and are revealed by the types of decisions you make, and by the way in which you relate to those you lead.
3. Values driven leadership is highly relevant.
This means that the values that drive your decisions really matter. For example, there’s no point in espousing a strong value of “individualism” when a team really requires community-focused leadership.
4. Values drive leadership is consistent.
Nothing will undermine your leadership more than chronic inconsistency. On the other hand, when people see that your core values ring true 100 times out of 100, that level of consistency will engender deep trust.
5. Values driven leadership is inspiring.
So, what exactly ARE the values that form your leadership? The kind of values that ultimately make a difference are those that will inspire your team at the highest level. Values of courage, strength, compassion, and love will ennoble those you lead.
Leadership today can be complex. Leaders can face more complicated and nuanced situations than ever imagined. And when values are fuzzy, leading through these complexities can seem like mere guesswork.
But leadership driven by clear values has a way of cutting through all of the complexity.
So if your leadership is seeming to be a bit erratic, learn to lead out of your values.
And put your leadership back onto sure footing.