Follow Your Leadership Values

Leaders come in many sizes, shapes and posses a wide-range of values. The first two characteristics may be mostly irrelevant but the last is critical for long-lasting success. Examine with me the values of Stalin, Hitler and Mao Zedong. Each had control over millions but displayed a flawed value system. They murdered millions in their quest for control. Were they leaders? Reluctantly, one must say “yes.” Did they experience long-lasting success? Thankfully one can say “no” to that question.

On the other hand, examine the values of Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and Jesus. They too influenced millions but murder was not part of their plans. Now you might be thinking but these were very religious individuals. While true, their leadership style is certainly not limited to only religious leaders. Each is a leader but unlike the first three examples, these individuals did achieve long-lasting success

As you strive to grow your leadership skills, you must first evaluate your own values. FYI, here are three key values that are traits of leaders that win.

1. They have a vision: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you arrive. When you lead, you must have a clear prospective of where you want to take the department or organization. Fuzzy won’t work. In all six examples cited, each one had a vision of what they wanted to accomplish. The difference is the intent of the vision and the methods used to achieve them.

2. Leaders are trustworthy: Trust is not automatic. Kouzes & Posner in their book, A Leader’s Legacy, make two points about trust. First, one cannot take trust for granted. It is an earned reward for behavior towards others. Secondly, not letting those under your charge be fatally affected when they don’t carry out an assignment well. Rather a leader doesn’t lost faith in their followers and teaches them how to avoid the mistake in the future.

3. Leaders are willing servants. Let’s go back to our first three examples of leaders. In each case, none were willing to serve others. To the contrary they wanted power and control over others and service was not a part of their character. In the last three examples, each was very willing to serve others and wanted no power and control over people. Humility blankets their character.

Study the life of individuals whose leadership style has been successful over a long period of time and whose influence still positively impacts society. Let their character soak into yours. Learn to apply their principles. Doing so separates you from the masses and helps you leave a lasting positive impact on the world. Then you are truly a difference maker.




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