Values-Based Leadership For Dummies book cover

Values-Based Leadership For Dummies

Author:
Published: May 8, 2018

Overview

Benefit from values-based leadership

Values-driven organizations are considered by some to be the most successful on the planet. They have high levels of engagement, generate higher earnings, and are more profitable by having an inclusive, multi-tiered strategy. It’s a win-win! In Values-Based Leadership For Dummies, you’ll get a fool-proof plan for putting the principles of values-based leadership in action—which will inspire and motivate others to pursue what matters most.

With many Baby Boomers edging toward retirement, the largest generation in history, the Millennials, will be taking over the reins and stepping into leadership roles. They’ve suffered through the difficult economic times and corporate scandals of the early 2000s and they want things to be different. Inside, you’ll get the framework for adopting the principles of values-based leadership that will help Millennials—and any member of any organization—thrive:  utilizing the tools of self-reflection, actionable grace, agility, and a commitment to lead responsibly.

  • Establish leadership positioning and company culture steeped in values
  • Foster employee engagement on all levels
  • Inspire greater performance while creating real impact socially and economically
  • Increase the ability to remain competitive and relevant during times of change
  • Harness the passion and commitment of the millennial workforce 

Whether you’re in an entrepreneur, entry-level position or a CEO, employees at any level can benefit from leaning into values-based leadership—and this book shows you how!

Benefit from values-based leadership

Values-driven organizations are considered by some to be the most successful on the planet. They have high levels of engagement, generate higher earnings, and are more profitable by having an inclusive, multi-tiered strategy. It’s a win-win! In Values-Based Leadership For Dummies, you’ll get a fool-proof plan for putting the principles of values-based leadership in action—which will inspire and motivate others to pursue what matters most.

With many Baby Boomers edging toward retirement, the largest generation in history, the Millennials, will be taking over the reins and stepping into leadership roles. They’ve suffered through the difficult economic times and corporate scandals of the early 2000s and they want things to be different. Inside, you’ll

get the framework for adopting the principles of values-based leadership that will help Millennials—and any member of any organization—thrive:  utilizing the tools of self-reflection, actionable grace, agility, and a commitment to lead responsibly.

  • Establish leadership positioning and company culture steeped in values
  • Foster employee engagement on all levels
  • Inspire greater performance while creating real impact socially and economically
  • Increase the ability to remain competitive and relevant during times of change
  • Harness the passion and commitment of the millennial workforce 

Whether you’re in an entrepreneur, entry-level position or a CEO, employees at any level can benefit from leaning into values-based leadership—and this book shows you how!

Values-Based Leadership For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Values-based leadership (VBL) is based on core values, setting the foundation for 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 VBL model for an organization.

Articles From The Book

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Management Articles

The Quad—Four Generations Operating in the Workforce Today

Having insight into your audience’s wants and desires will help you comprehend the factors that lead to their perceptions of authority, leadership, values, virtues, and work ethics. These are mobilizing factors. Here, you gain that insight by breaking down the workforce into the beautiful Quad — the four generations currently operating in the workforce today. During adolescence, people make determinations about what is cool, healthy, natural, and worth their time; sexuality emerges, and passion and ambition start to pique their interest. Opinions based on outside influences create the framework to ultimately determine what they want. The formative years also play a large part in determining how people will view the world. Their perceptions and reactions to different stimuli, such as how their parents raised them, current events, music, politics, and so on, create opportunities to draw conclusions on safety, security, money, career, government, and so on. These outside factors create their mindset and way of being in the world. Although no two people will react the same, general conclusions about generations can be derived.

Listen with an open mind. Don’t judge. Be aware of what may be your own preconceived notions of who and what each generation in the Quad represents.

Generational cohorts are defined by a period of development within a certain span of time. To some extent these boundaries are arbitrary, and defining and labeling generations can vary from sociologist to sociologist, though for the most part they vary by only a few years. The author uses the research of noted sociologists William Strauss and Neil Howe to bracket the generational periods. Feel free to adjust the years based on your understanding if needed. In the figure, you may be surprised to be classified not as a Baby Boomer, but on the outer edge of Generation X. Or you may be more Millennial than you knew. There are three main generations that make up the current workforce: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. On the outskirts are the almost completely retired Silent generation and the emerging Homeland generation. Together, they make up the “bumper” generations of the current workforce and are classified as the fourth part of the Quad. Just so you know, the Quad has mixed feelings about you, the leader, and what you can or can’t do. They wonder about your ethics, trustworthiness, and commitment. Are you surprised? You may chalk it up as normal, and it is. But you should know why they may mistrust you. Emotional intelligence, sensitivity, and reflective moments will be a staple on our journey together. Everyone has life experiences that help create perceptions of how things should or will be. Each cohort has reason to be skeptical and critical of leaders in general. Events and experiences may have caused them to mistrust authority and leadership. These events fostered the seeds of mistrust. Workers of all ages have become exasperated by leaders who lack authenticity, compassion, and transparency. Will their leaders do what they say they’ll do when they say they’ll do it? Tell them the truth and take responsibility. For example, in 2015 Japan’s Takata Corporation recalled their airbags and set out to repairs tens of millions of products placed in Honda motor vehicles. However, it wasn’t without pressure from U.S. regulators that set this remedy in motion. Takata leadership took responsibility for the issue and ultimately made it right.

The Quad is a reflection of our society — fatigued by empty promises, unaligned values, and the inability to trust authority. They want more. The good news is that they are willing to give more. You can’t change history or their life experiences, but there are some things you can do to change their experience right now. That starts with you, not them. Welcome to values-based leadership.

Management Articles

When You Know Change Is Needed to Values-Based Leadership

Sometimes staying the course and holding steady are great. But at some point, everyone must upgrade their systems, thinking, and ways of being to continue to be viable.

There’s a concept in nature called bifurcation. Bifurcation is a process that nature takes to renew itself. Usually it involves a disruption or inflammation that precipitates a split, a morphing into two. For example, deep forests are prone to fires. Within the forest are types of trees, spores, and other flora that require excessive heat for them to reproduce. With fire, they grow and multiply. Without it, they rot and die. One branch of possibility becomes life-affirming as a result of the disruption, and the other (without the disruption) could lead to the species becoming extinct.

When you apply bifurcation to business, you see that normal disruptions happen, and as a result — for example, the market crash in 2008 or massive corruption scandals — the system is forced to make a choice: review, reflect, and enact change, or do nothing at all. Doing the latter often results in the company petering out into extinction. Many companies and their leadership have taken this route. Not all disruptions or course corrections are a result of such large issues. Consider the following as potential signs that a change is needed in the leadership approach:
  • Excessive competition: While competition will occur, overly aggressive and destructive or disruptive behavior will crumble teams. The attributes and principles of values-based leadership become the remedy.
  • Exclusions and exceptions: Creating an environment where only some people need to follow the rules disrupts the level playing field of fairness where everyone has access to opportunities.
  • Excessive gossip and rumors: These are key indicators that there is a lack of communication and lack of trust seeping into the organization.
  • Team failure: Teams fail to work together to reach their goals.
  • Us versus them: When teams, managers, and leaders are pitted against one another, progress is inhibited.
  • Employee turnover: High levels of turnover create gaps in wisdom and continuity in the organization.
  • The decline of trust and motivation: These elements create the foundation where people work together for the greater good of all involved.
  • Lack of ownership: Leaders and employees who aren’t tapped into the vision, mission, or purpose for the organization’s work create apathy.
  • Stagnation: Lack of innovation in processes, problem solving, products, services, production, sourcing, and technology causes a great deal of frustration for employees.

The preceding bullets cover just some of the many issues you can list as reasons to consider making a change. The figure illustrates the crossroads.

When the decision is made that something must change, which is where you may be in this moment, the next step is to conduct a review to determine how to course correct and then roll out adaptive action and rewrite the future. You may be on a course that’s not sustainable. People may begin walking away from the company, or apathy may continue to weigh down progress. In your heart, you’re probably thinking, I just need to give this one more shot before I walk away. Or: This place has massive potential, but things have to change.

What’s scary is when leaders either refuse to see they have a problem or don’t care enough to make any changes. That, inevitably, leads to extinction — dismissal of leadership and potentially the failure of the company.

You make the choice to grow, change, and adapt and create a brighter future — or not. To make this choice, you need to be a leader who is open-minded, ruthlessly self-aware, and willing to look at the truth of your results. You also need to be savvy enough to understand that the world of business is changing. Will you keep up or be left behind?

Although remnants of the old, establishment way of operating linger on, this Millennial wave is becoming tremendously influential and will continue to lead us into a more progressive view of business. Already leaders of today are required to deploy a more comprehensive set of tools that go well beyond a technical skill set and a lofty education. Empathy and awareness are being added to leaders’ skill set. So-called “soft skills” are no longer considered intangibles. They’re a big component of why people will want to work for you and with you, and why they’ll aspire to follow the leadership image you provide for them.

The use of self-reflection is important to gain insight into yourself and your motivations. You must consider what it will mean for you to operate in a “we” rather than “me” environment. Reframing how to view business differently sets the foundation for your journey:

  • Is what I’m doing about me — or about them?
  • Who is this serving — me or them?
  • Am I setting up a culture that evolves around me — or around us?

You have to assess the selflessness of your leadership. You’ll need to make decisions that affect the whole. Knowing which course to take may become murky but be sure that you’re thinking of the whole — the we — of the organization. When it gets into me territory, you’re in trouble. Everyone has a survival mechanism that’s designed to look out for number one — to protect yourself. But when it comes to your leadership role, we must always be part of the equation.

Management Articles

The Escalator Effect of Values-Based Leadership

Values-based leadership (VBL) continues the evolution of how we choose to engage in business. It’s the next step in the integration of one of the initial Conscious Capitalism principles: Business is good, noble, and heroic because it provides ethical opportunities for everyone. VBL expands on Conscious Capitalism using a specific, yet customizable, set of values as the platform for norms of doing business with others and internally. Each step in this leadership model leads to an organization that performs at maximum capacity.

Within each of the five sectors, specific tasks, actions, and behaviors need to be instituted. This is the starting point of your journey. Here is an overview of what each sector means:

  • Values-Based Principles: There is a difference between what’s implied and what’s expected. Clarity on which principles are selected by each leader for themselves and their organizations is the foundation for the process.
  • Character of Leadership: You’ll hear me say many times that character can’t be faked. It can be evolved and directed in more constructive ways, but it’s not something you can fake, not for long. It is who you are. On our journey, I’ll show you how, where, and why you need to expand on who you are to become the leader others really need and want right now.
  • Building an Environment of Trust: This is the part of your company culture that’s crucial — without it, you’ll fail. Trust in the leadership, one another, and the path you’re all on together will determine how productive your teams will be. Simply put, if they don’t trust you, they most certainly won’t follow you, at least not wholeheartedly.
  • Employees Engaged: Either they’re part of the process and the organization’s success, or they aren’t. Your willingness to invest in them will speak volumes to them. That investment comes in a variety of applications, such as training, development, benefits, perks, and simply making them part of the process.
  • Performing at Maximum Capacity: The first four elements bring us to this point. Let’s reverse the thought process. Engaged employees who are actively involved in the company’s success are working from a place of trust. They are all in. This was achieved because the leader has led by example with clarity, consistency, and empathy. People love working with people who they truly believe have their best interests at heart, and not just the bottom line.
So, are you in? Your reaction to the top-level view will tell you a lot about your own capacity to evolve, change, grow, and adapt. What’s your willingness level at this point? Rank it from one to five. One means “I’m really not interested at all.” Three means, “You’ve got my attention but I’m not sure,” and five means, “I’m all in.” If you’re at a three, teetering in either direction,
read on. Fours and fives, you’re definitely in the right place.