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 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 organizations profit margin or bottom line”.
Upon further reflection I am wondering if in addition to a leadership crisis in our society, we actually have a values crisis. Could it be that there are not enough of those who see values that are worthy enough that would make us want to lead others to strive toward reaching them? 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 either leading or following. 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!”
What are your thoughts on values and leadership? Are they intertwined? Can one exist without the other? And if so, to what end?
Photo credit: Hannes Grobe / Foter.com / CC BY
Photo credit: NASA / Foter.com / Public domain
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