Be a leader today by modeling your values

Written on Apr 06, 2017

By Jasmine Mickey, M.A., OSCPA diversity & inclusion manager

Take a moment to think of your favorite leaders. Perhaps your list includes influential CEOs, global humanitarians, politicians or educators. What about… you? Do you consider yourself a leader?

leadership170406I had the opportunity to ponder this question last month at the ASAE Future Leaders Conference in Annapolis, MD. The conference brought together people from associations across the country to join in community and learn about leadership. It was a valuable and rewarding experience in my professional development journey.

The theme that permeated the conference was becoming your own leader, rather than trying to simply emulate your favorites. In this vein, one of the topics that stayed with me is the notion of values-based leadership. The facilitators at the conference had each of the attendees narrow a list of 100 values, to 10, to seven, to four. Then they posed the question, “If these are your most important core values, how are you enacting them in your leadership?”

Harry M. Kramer, Clinical Professor of Strategy in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University writes: “... your leadership must be rooted in who you are and what matters most to you. When you truly know yourself and what you stand for, it’s much easier to know what to do in any situation.”

Values-based leadership also applies to organizational values. Modeling the values of your organization builds trust among employees and clients alike, and positively contributes to the brand. In other words, when people around you see you “walking the walk” rather than just talking, it leaves an impression. It also encourages others to put their values into action.

In his book, From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership, Kramer advocates for self-reflection, balance, self-confidence and humility as the pillars of leadership. By taking the time to know yourself, enabling yourself to see others’ perspectives, accepting yourself for who you are, and remaining humble, your values will be evident to everyone around you. Turn these principles into practice, and perhaps you’ll come to mind when others think of their favorite leaders.

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