The Importance of Values to Leadership

Can one exist without the other?

The Importance of Values to Leadership

Can you have real leadership in a “value vacuum”?

What do I mean by that? By that, I mean a leadership context that is devoid of values or morals. In an article on “Heroic Leadership” earlier I opined the following: “Values are an integral part of good leadership. To be a true leader, you must take a stand on issues. And that stand must be a moral stand. As leaders, we should be mobilizing and motivating our organizations to higher moral ground even when that may not increase the organization’s profit margin or bottom line”. 

What’s goin’ on out there?

Upon further reflection, I am wondering if in addition to a leadership crisis in our society, we just actually be having a moral or values crisis. Could it be that there are just not enough of those who see values that are worthy enough that would make us want to lead others to strive toward reaching those same values? Conversely, could it be that there are not enough of us who see things that have such potential for harm that we will lead others away from those dangerous moral pitfalls?

I would not suggest that only the morally pure would be qualified to lead. For to do so would disqualify all candidates. Nor would I suggest that values-based leadership would be infallible. But, I do believe that leadership is in and of itself a value. Society today would say, “To each his own” or “Live and let live”. Today’s culture does not necessarily see a value in “values-based” leading or in choosing whom they are following based upon a moral assessment of the leader’s character. But, like so many today, I am looking for leaders to rise up with values and morals as their foundation and say “Follow me and I will lead you to higher ground!”

How does this relate to me and my leadership?

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You Can Conduct Valuable Team Meetings

A Few Easy Concepts

You Can Conduct Valuable Team Meetings

Almost 2 weeks ago, I discussed team briefings and the importance of communications in the process. But I really didn’t take the time to address the mechanics of conducting a valuable team briefing. So, today, let’s focus on that.

Create the Environment

As the leader, you must establish the proper environment. Think about the environment you want to create for these briefings. It doesn’t necessarily be a super-formal environment. But, it just needs to be a positive environment. People must understand what to expect when they attend one of your team briefings. Here are a few things that make for a good environment:

  • Ensure that you understand what is going on in the organization and that you have been properly briefed yourself. Make sure your team leaders know what’s happening at various levels, and with various other teams, throughout the organization.
  • Provide training or coaching on how to conduct effective team briefings.
  • Recognize and reward supervisors and managers for conducting effective team briefings.
  • Brevity is the soul of wit. If you can’t say it in 15 to 30 minutes, then a team briefing is not the right vehicle for a more complex message.

Have a Structure and a Process

As the leader, you must commit to a structure and a process. You have invited the team and they are gathered for information sharing.

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Do You Know Where You Are?

That is the first question!

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And, perhaps more importantly, do you know for sure what it is exactly that “got you here?”. Such is the dilemma that so many leaders and organizations face. They have no idea how they got “here.” And they have no clue how to get “there!”

A Really Good Book

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is the title of Marshall Goldsmith’s book. It was published in 2007 and is available on Amazon via this link. I highly recommend the book. In that book, Goldsmith helps the reader how to handle what he calls the “paradox of success.” Goldsmith says that folks who have achieved success share some common characteristics that have attributed to their success. Unfortunately, it is those same characteristics that will make it difficult for them to adapt and to change to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

Do you know where you are?

Goldsmith is great and he has sold way more books than I have. But, I see things a little differently from where I sit. My first question is this. Do you even know where you are?

If you don’t even know where you are, you have no way of determining if you are where you want to be. Sounds rather simple and fundamental, doesn’t it? Yet, so many fail to stop and take a look around to see where they are relative to their intended destination. Do you know where you are?

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Why Would Anyone Want YOU To Lead Them?

A Question of Leadership in Terms of "Followship"

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Halloween has just ended and the airwaves are full of Christmas music. Are we just going to bypass Thanksgiving altogether? I certainly hope not. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for me. It reminds me that the year is nearly over.

At this time of year, many leaders and leadership teams are taking their annual step back to do a deep-dive assessment of their organization’s progress against the goals and objectives of their strategic plans that they established in the early days of 2016. (What? You don’t do that at your organization? Have you ever considered that maybe that is part of what is holding the organization back?)

Take A Look on the Inside

As part of your end-of-year strategic progress review, consider including another area of assessment — one that will require a different kind of evaluation and one that will be much more introspective in nature. Why not take some time to also consider how you personally are progressing as a leader? After all, an organization’s strategic performance is, in large part, a direct reflection of the effectiveness of the person at the top.

If you want to silence a room of pastors, executives or any group of leaders try this small trick. Ask them, “Why would anyone want you to lead them?”

Without fail, the response will most likely be a sudden, stunned hush. All you will hear are knees knocking and crickets chirping.

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Be Respectable and Be Respectful

Leadership Basics

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Are you worthy of respect as a leader? Are you respectful of your followers and those around you? Those are the two topics to consider today as we continue this series of Leadership Basics.

The Respectable Part

Let’s deal with being a person worthy of respect first.

I have often heard the phrase “He just commands respect.” What does that mean? Does it literally mean that I can command you to respect me? How do we gain respect from others? We earn it! So, how do we go about earning respect and being a respectable leader?

How Do You Treat Others? – This very question is dealt with in the second part below where I will discuss being respectful. But, respectFUL leaders are respectABLE leaders.

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Be Compelling

Leadership Basics

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I think that I have mentioned before that I just love a good quote. Today, I return to a quote that I wrote about several years ago. It deals with the need for us to be “compelling” leaders.

Here it is:

“So why do we remember him? We remember him because nothing is more compelling than a good man in an evil time.”

Just let that sink in a moment.

The speaker was Charles Chaput, the archbishop of Philadelphia. And I was listening to a speech given on July 8, 2013, at the National Shrine in Washington, DC. In his speech, he centered his thoughts around a well-known military and political leader.

He quotes from this leader’s own words written while on a military campaign Germany. Apparently, he kept a diary. And some of his words are worth sharing today because they gave rise to Archbishop Chaput’s words that so captivated me.

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Be A Mentor

Are you a mentor to other leaders?

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In a recent article, I tackled the need for leaders to be “teachable.” And we certainly must be. But leaders must also be teaching — or, in my words, leaders must be a mentor.

Your followers today are the future leaders of tomorrow. As leaders, we have an obligation to those who will come behind us, or in other words, our future to train and mentor tomorrow’s leaders today. The pace of change today is so swift that we must mentor and coach our young leaders through these times. “Trial by fire” may just not be an option in our organizations.

How do we develop and keep the best young leaders? 

The answer is to use a formal or even an informal mentoring program. By using an effective mentoring program, you and I can help develop today’s leadership talent and potential into tomorrow’s proven and tested leaders. Organizations that leverage the leadership and experience of senior staff can develop, maintain, and retain the talent that they may already have in-house. 

What are some things to consider as a leadership mentor?

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Be Teachable

Are You a Teachable Leader?

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They are called “Teachable Moments” and we assume that we are the “teacher” in those moments. But, have you ever considered that you might be the one in need of a little teaching?

What exactly is a Teachable Moment?

According to Beth Lewis, “a teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity that arises in the classroom where a teacher has an ideal chance to offer insight to his or her students. A teachable moment is not something that you can plan for; rather, it is a fleeting opportunity that must be sensed and seized by the teacher.”

Did you notice the emphasis on the teacher? In most scenarios, the teacher is the leader. However, in all of my research, I found very little information about the importance of the moment from the student’s perspective. In fact, it was as though the students just stumbled into the moment and thank goodness the teacher was there to save them.

But what if it is the leader that has a teachable moment? Are you, as a leader, teachable? Do you have a humble and open spirit to what others may have to say to you? Are there people in your life who can speak truth, hard truth at times, into your life?

What are the teachable moments for a leader?

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Be Succinct

Veni, vidi, vici

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In 47 B.C., Julius Caesar is asked for a report on his recent military exploits. The Roman Senate seeks to know what has happened out on the eastern edges of the Empire. His response: “Veni, vidi, vici.”

In English, it is translated as: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

That is about as succinct as it can be. In it there is a statement about logistics — I came, a statement about planning — I saw, and a statement about the execution of the plan — I conquered.

What are the leadership implications of communicating like Caesar?

I think that confident leaders have a brevity of speech that still communicates powerfully and effectively. That confidence allows them to shortcut much of the chatter and the nonsense of much of our communication. Leaders at the highest levels do not have the luxury of “small talk” with any and all that they must deal with. So, they adapt their style and take a minimalist approach.

Normally, my articles on leadership topics range from 500-750 words. But, today, I am taking my own advice and practicing a briefer approach. This one is less than half of that. And so, I leave you with a picture

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Be Generous

Three Things That Generous Leaders Share

Be Generous

Leaders that folks want to follow are generous by nature. That doesn’t mean they give you money. That means that they have a giving spirit or a generous heart.

Generosity is a word with a historical meaning that is lost today. It once referred to one’s nobility of birth and the obligation toward those of lesser means and lower standing. There was a cultural expectation that leaders (nobility) would behave in certain ways that would demonstrate their worthiness.

But before we can identify the behaviors of a generous leader, we need to identify the motivations of a generous leader. Generous leaders are motivated by the success (whatever that looks like) of those around them. Generous leaders lead the way that they do because they place a high value on the overall success of those who follow them.  On the other hand, leaders who are motivated by their own success tend to measure their achievements in terms of their compensation package, the power in their position, the status as compared to those in their peer group, and whatever recognition they can garner.

Generous leaders hold themselves to different standards. Generous leaders value their empowerment of others, their service to their organization, and their relationships with their followers.

Generous leaders give in ways that are not always measured in terms of dollars.  They are generous on many levels. They usually are generous with their money.  They are often the benefactors of many charitable or ministry organizations.  And they are often the ones behind the anonymous gifts that their followers find at just the right time. But they are also generous with their time as well as their talents.

What does a generous leader look like?

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