Values-Based Leadership: Follow the Path Cut by Other Leadership Influencers
Several different influencing methodologies and philosophies have led up to the shift in our consciousness in business and, in fact, in the world in general. We didn’t just wake up one day and think: I’m going to be loving and compassionate in everything I do. The light didn’t shine down from on high illuminating a pathway. The change of perception and the application of new beliefs take time to evolve within people’s exchanges. Each has contributed to our ability to reframe who we are as humans working in a business environment with others.
New contributing factors always come into play, acting as disruptors to what we believe is true and changing our perceptions. One widely known influencing theory is Emotional Intelligence, and perhaps a less mainstream thought process is Global Leadership Theory:
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Look toward the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) work by Daniel Goleman as a strong rudder that has brought us down this path. EQ taught us how to consider our emotional responses to stress and examine the effect they have on those around us. Goleman’s research suggested that those who register a higher EQ have consistently been more successful than those who don’t. In effect, it has been a way to evaluate one’s leadership effect on creating happiness, empathy, resilience, and mindfulness — or not. Goleman’s work helps individuals identify the strengths and weakness of how they engage with others. That awareness, in my opinion, has been a large contributor of the demise of the command and control form of leadership described earlier.
- Global Leadership Theory (GTL): GTL is a leadership framework developed to navigate many cultures and create a collaborative community despite cultural value differences. The research of Geert Hofstede narrows down more than 40 attributes that create any culture. Each culture prioritizes different attributes slightly differently. This illustrates how disconnects can happen within a global workforce. But the fundamental belief is that everyone, from every culture, has something to contribute and can create an innovative problem-solving environment despite these potentially differing priorities. Globalization of the workforce amplifies the need to find solutions and work together seamlessly.
Wise leaders know that this cultural common ground is a necessity — not something that would just be a nice thing to establish. Despite fringe political movements of nationalism around the globe, we simply won’t be able to stop the globalization of the workforce. The digital era of connectivity has forever changed the workforce. Immigration restrictions and limitations will have a hard time keeping up the integration of international and remote stakeholder workplaces.
When we honestly appraise ourselves, bossing people around is obviously counterproductive to improving productivity. When I consulted with companies a few years ago, they often argued that productivity is what’s important because it generates the income to pay everyone. And I completely get that. But it took time for leaders to understand that constructing a healthy work environment and mindset toward the work at hand actually improves productivity. It was worth it for them to work on their EQ and see what would happen. The result? As people were given the tools to improve communication with others, production increased, and happiness — yes, happiness — increased tremendously. Happy people are productive people. Period. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness isn’t a goal. It’s a by-product of a life well lived.”
Scowl and pooh-pooh this concept at your own peril. People who are happy have been shown to be more productive than unhappy people, and happy leaders are more likely to create happiness in their organizations.