Manager and leader are often used interchangeably but vary significantly. A manager manages people – telling them how to work. A leader inspires and motivates people to contribute to a shared vision. More than 20 years ago the focus was on management as thousands of management books were written suggesting ways to become an effective and efficient manager. Aspiring managers climbing the workplace ladder invested in books like the The One Minute Manger written by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson – the go-to guide for supervisors, managers, and leaders within an organization. In 1999, Ken Blanchard, Bill Hybels, and Phil Hodges changed the future of leadership and how we communicate about those in positions of authority with their text, Leadership by the Book.
During the last two centuries, the focus has drastically transitioned from management to leadership. Management is about processes, efficiencies, and return on investment – all critical to complete jobs effectively and efficiently. Management tasks are an inherent part of any organization and are all things we must do to keep the organization running on a day-to-day basis. However, managing processes is very different than working with people. Leadership unites the inherent functions of a business with the human dimension. Leadership is the art of exemplifying your core values, knowing your essential skills, and fundamentally leading with clarity of action that positively influences others toward achieving their true potentials.
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”John Maxwell
Defining Values-Based Leadership
Leadership practice and theory has developed as it has gained popularity, and different approaches to leadership are present in today’s literature. An approach that is tried and true, is values-based leadership.
As humans, we are guided by both the traits and values we hold to be important. Your values are based on who you are and what matters most to you. Values represent the invisible line we absolutely must not cross. The test is when someone asks us to do something that our inner instincts tell us is not the right thing to do. Values are ingrained in us early in our lives and are the core beliefs that give us purpose and direction in everything that we do. When you as a leader display values that others respect or admire, it makes following you easy to do. Knowing yourself well enough to understand specifically what it is you value and which traits you want to exemplify as a leader will help you succeed at work and in life. Understanding, using, and adhering to your core values is the heart of values-based leadership.
Stephen Covey, a famed American author and consultant on leadership, promulgates the degree of importance these values reflect in our lives. Covey maintains that leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”John Quincy Adams
7 Core Leadership Values
Values are genuinely necessary, and every leader must possess and demonstrate the seven essential core leadership values.
The most fundamental value of all and is what employers look for in hiring, and employees look for in leadership. Integrity is demonstrated through personal courage to do the right thing for the right reason. It is treating others fairly and consistently and choosing the more complex right over the easier wrong. If you lose your integrity, you lose your effectiveness as a leader.
Honestly is directly related to integrity. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Tell the truth. Follow ethical and moral standards.
Being faithful to the team and the organization. Being loyal means holding to your values, group, organization, and even a custom or tradition. It is the unwavering and steadfast support toward someone or something. What if we were as loyal to our organization as we are to our sports team? How might we act differently at work?
Holding yourself accountable for your actions and the results of your actions first and foremost and then holding others accountable. You may delegate the authority, but you cannot trust the responsibility and accountability for the work to be done and done well.
Respect should be a natural occurrence, something you bestow on others until they give you a reason to do otherwise. When you respect others, you hold them to a higher level of esteem, treating them with importance and value.
Like respect, this can be given upfront or, in some cases, earned. Trust is the belief that some are dependable, honest, and reliable. When we trust others, we are respectful toward them, open in our communications, and allow them to succeed or fail. We use moments of failure as a learning opportunity, knowing they will do better next time.
Putting yourself last and giving credit where credit is due. It means to give of your time to help others with mundane tasks and make a sincere and honest effort to examine issues from the perspective of others. You demonstrate unselfishness by putting the needs of others before your own, and you promote team interests ahead of your own. Leadership is not about you; it is about the success of your team. What you do counts less than what we do together.
Collaborative learning allows learners to actively learn in a group setting, which further enhances the development of soft skill competencies. Activities within collaborative learning can include role-playing, group projects, or discussions. Peregrine’s Your Bridge to Supervision, 12-unit supervisor program, includes virtual seminars that provide an opportunity for trainees to apply concepts together through live and online interaction and discussion. The program integrates all three types of learning.
There is not one learning activity that is better than the other, but each provides advantages. The best learning experiences will include a combination of all three.
Values Impact Character
Leadership is more than just leading. There must be a fundamental reason or purpose for doing what you are trying to do. This goal forms the foundation from which the leader’s skills and actions will be put into practice. This foundation, often referred to as a leader’s character, includes everyone’s deeply entrenched beliefs and is the basis for our most important decisions, whether business-related or not.
The book, Leadership Foundations focuses on the BE, KNOW, DO foundations of leadership. The character of a leader is the BE dimension, which includes the definitive values and attributes of a leader. To learn more about values-based leadership – explore our online, self-guided leadership courses. Peregrine is here to guide you through your leadership journey.