Cheat Sheet

Values-Based Leadership For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Values-Based Leadership For Dummies

By Maria Gamb

Values-based leadership (VBL) is based on core values, setting the foundation of how everyone in a company will engage and creating an expectation that the leader always operates for the greater good of all. The idea is that the leader has a well-developed character that establishes an environment of mutual respect, fairness, and trust, at a minimum. VBL serves as the guiding force to create a healthy company culture. It all starts with the leader.

Here are a few key highlights for anyone considering a values-based leadership model for an organization.

The Attributes of Values-Based Leadership

Four basic attributes create the character of a values-based leader: self-reflection, grace, agility, and influencing responsibility. Each of these attributes has various components.

  • Self-reflection: The components of self-reflection are
    • Honesty: Uncovering your strengths, embracing your weaknesses
    • Authenticity: Saying and doing what you mean, leading by example
    • Making difficult decisions: Doing what’s right when it’s not convenient or comfortable
    • Ethical integrity: Keeping it all on the up and up, no matter what
  • Grace: The components of grace are
    • Servant leadership: Paving the way for others to succeed
    • Humility: Embracing “quiet confidence” rather than a rock star persona
    • Social distance: Bridging the power gap between you and others
  • Agility: Concepts relating to agility include
    • Five components of agility: Optimism, commitment to success, learning, focus, and innovation
    • Getting real: Unpacking your strengths and weaknesses
    • Failing: Learning from mistakes and missteps to ensure success
  • Influencing responsibly: This type of influence requires
    • Emulating values: Being a powerful example to everyone in the organization
    • Creating good: Supporting the community you serve and doing right by your employees

Values-Based Leadership within Four Quadrants of Business

Values-based leadership really is a business proposition. It’s the animation of what you believe is important and it leads to profitability. The following lists describe how values-based leadership relates to the four quadrants of business.

How the company does business is done in a healthy environment built on mutual respect:

  • Establishing the rules of engagement (a values statement)
  • Building an authentic company culture
  • Creating a healthy workplace
  • Developing relationships with vendors and resources

How the company serves and impacts the community is a representation of cooperation:

  • Engaging in philanthropic corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Engaging in economic corporate social responsibility
  • Reminding employees that what they do matters to improve the customer’s life
  • Supporting stakeholders’ families with fair wages

How the company invests in others illustrates both nurturing and sustainability:

  • Recruiting and retaining the best talent
  • Establishing a culture of learning
  • Creating values partnerships with vendors and resources
  • Building human resource programs and initiatives

How the company becomes sustainable in business creation depends on elements and outcomes of the prior three areas:

  • Solving problems creatively
  • Reinventing processes and business models
  • Addressing global human needs
  • Circling back around to investment, serving, and how we do business

Important Principles of Values-Based Leadership

The following principles are the foundation of building a strong, healthy organization that engages in values-based leadership:

  • Sets direction
    • Creates a values statement to serve as a guiding force for all
    • Provides meaning and purpose to the company and its stakeholders
    • Reflects the company’s values in everything it does, everywhere it operates
  • Creates proactive company culture
    • Increases value in the lives of stakeholders and the community
    • Utilizes its influence responsibly to achieve goals
    • Creates an environment of mutual respect
  • Betters individuals
    • Invests in the education and development of stakeholders
    • Empowers others by developing other leaders
    • Commits to correct job fits to foster job satisfaction and improve effectiveness
  • Expands business opportunities
    • Inspires collaboration and innovation by creating a shared value community