Exemplary leadership is built on values. Those wishing to go beyond simple management and step up to lead must first discover—and then embody—the values that are critically important to them. Eventually encouraging your direct reports to take the same journey as you, in turn, encourages them to spread your organization’s values to their reports, in their own authentic voice, and on and on.
Leading by example, begins with finding your voice, uncovering what your values are, independent of any conditioning or cultural bias.
Leadership is a personal expression; you need to be able to articulate what you stand for in your own words. In reality, there’s a direct correlation between employees who understand their leader’s philosophy and how committed and engaged they are.
Affirming Shared Ideals
Managers who limply parrot the edicts of others without really understanding them end up working with whatever talent they’re given. Leaders, meanwhile, who are crystal clear about the values they exemplify will inevitably attract others on a similar mission.
When people know where they stand, they act with confidence. Likewise, having honest conversations about what’s important helps people connect what they do with why they do it.
Shared ideals lead to:
- Greater commitment
- Better staff retention
- Improved effectiveness as a team
But be sure not to force this unity; a natural consensus is always going to outperform a team which has values imposed on it.