Some leaders are democratic, others are autocratic. One boss may take a hands-off approach, while another prefers to be involved in every decision being made. One leader might see themselves as a coach, another as a strategist, and another as a collaborator. Some might rule with charisma, others through bureaucracy, and others with the intention of having a transformational effect.
Every leader seeks to imprint their style, but how many seek to apply their values?
In this article, we will discuss the emergence of value-based leadership and how empowered leaders and organizations can seek to embed their values as they motivate and direct others.
Definition of Value-Based Leadership
Value-based leadership derives from the idea that a leader andtheir team share the philosophy that motivation comes from applying personal values to their work. Teams and leaders who work in such a way are more likely to collaborate and be productive since their similar belief system allows for greater alignment when tackling objectives. A successful value-based leadership system will drive more cohesive teamwork, more accurate following of instructions, and a greater sense of comradery.
For learning and development departments looking for a change of tactics in order to unlock considerable benefits, continue reading to better understand the characteristics of a value-based leader.
The Benefits and Traits of a Value-Based Leader
Transforming an organizational leadership style takes a lot of action and understanding, starting with a journey into the mind of a value-based leader. Once we can understand why natural value-based leaders manage in the way they do, we need to see how their psychology corresponds with their leadership style. Here are three personality traits and the benefits they bring:
- Humility - Confidence and self-belief are useful traits when applied correctly, but what’s even better is to accept that there are others who are more skilled, more capable, and more talented than yourself. When you accept this and can recognize the skills and weaknesses of yourself and those around you, the opportunity for learning and development will be immense. This humility will also pass on to others in your team, especially if they feel there is minimal hierarchy
- Force of Positivity - Live your positive values, share them, discuss them, and use them to serve the people around you. Be the change you want to see in the organization and be a shining example of a better way forward. If you set a positive example, others will follow when faced with an obstacle
- Honesty - Through self-reflection and introspection we can assess our recent decisions and be honest about whether we made the right call or if we could have done things better. When honesty is valued in a team, trust will naturally grow
How a Business Can Apply Value-Based Leadership
It’s not only individual leaders who can be value-based. Here are a few things for businesses to consider when taking this approach:
- Clear Company Mission - When the direction of the company is set, agreed upon, and understood, it serves as a guide to finding purpose in the work being done and a vision to work towards Transformational
- Opportunities - Education, training, and opportunities to demonstrate talent are key parts of value-based leadership. Trusting your team is in itself a value and one that can improve job satisfaction and motivation
- Company Culture - If the values instilled and agreed-upon are correct, the overall social value of the organization is likely to increase, allowing for more positive influence and effect to take place
Since it is the responsibility of the HR department to add value to an organization, they deserve a lot of credit for the ambitious undertaking of an organizational leadership change. Remember that each department needs an adequate leader and so it falls upon HR to ensure the right person is in each position and that they are all aligned and moving in the same progressive direction.
Maintaining Your Value-Based Leadership
Already applying a value-based leadership but not sure it’s working or taking effect? The following tips are some things that your organization and HR department should consider to help maintain and improve leadership efforts.
Communication: Align Actions and Words
Communication improves value-based leadership and vice versa, with the two things working in tandem to align your values and beliefs with those of the team and the organization. When they are in harmony with one another, people can talk openly and tactfully even on difficult matters. By choosing to talk and be transparent, the company can follow suit and may eventually find that there is a better dialogue with consumers, resulting in an improved sales performance.
Be More Productive: Don’t Rest on Good Progress
Complacency is the enemy of success. So, if your organization saw early results in a value-based leadership style, but now the effect seems to be waning, ask whether complacency has crept in. Some departments, when results become satisfactory, rest on their laurels and get comfortable instead of getting motivated. When leaders start intentionally increasing their own productivity, others around them will align with this effort and add more fuel to their own fires. Try to encourage a balance between comfort and hard work, and share this finding with team members.
Strengthen Relationships: Tighten Your Teams
As established values and beliefs become clearer and filter through the team and the organization, those who agree and buy into the system will feel understood. As a byproduct of feeling understood, people will feel more secure, and occasionally this translates into a false sense of security and in some cases, lethargy.
Leaders should seek to strengthen relationships with certain individuals who feel a little too comfortable and try to revive their energy levels for work. The organization will reap the rewards for this, as the employees will feel understood and learn to trust the company more for the personal level of support.
Organizations often have entire departments focused on strengthening relationships with consumers and bringing them closer to the mission. Your HR department may want to consider discussing this concept with other internal departments.
Conclusion: Will Value-Based Leadership Help Your Cause?
One. Hundred. Percent. The best leaders are the most authentic ones, who act from their own nature and highest values. Your values, ultimately, are a key part of your identity. So, what happens when your leadership style and your identity are one and the same?
- You will find a sense of comfort in your work that will allow you to make better choices
- You will feel more authentic and genuine when doing business
- Your relationships will be stronger, with more trust, and less stress
So, where to begin now that you’ve read this article? Your organization can begin discussions about a change in leadership style. Bring together the department leaders and discuss what they believe the values of the organization are, and what they should be. Work closely together to get a harmonious agreement. Some additional reading material to help you on your way can be found in our Transformative Leadership Report.