10 Important Values for a Leader

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Great leadership goes beyond meeting sales targets and sticking to budgets. The best business managers also adhere to a set of core leadership values that guide their decision-making and interactions with team members on a daily basis.


What Are Leadership Values?

Leadership values are the overarching principles that guide a team leader's decision-making and direction of others. Many effective leaders identify a set of values that they will use to shape company culture and lead professional initiatives. They choose paths that are consistent with those values and reject those that are not.

A strong leader's professional values may also coincide with their personal values, but this is not required. In some cases, a great leader must set aside personal opinions that do not align with the culture of the company they lead. Instead of putting their own beliefs first, successful leaders defer to the company culture they helped create. This company-first leadership style works as long as the company culture is ethical and respects all stakeholders.


Importance of Leaders with Values

Core leadership values provide a compass for business executives and project managers to use when faced with difficult decisions in the normal course of business. Sales opportunities, human resource challenges, marketing plans, and political alignments are just a few of the many aspects of corporate life that a strong set of leadership values can help a manager navigate.

A good leader who understands company values will look at every decision through the lens of company culture. By adhering to these values, they ensure a consistent level of excellence in their organization and a consistent baseline in their treatment of others. A value code can also provide leaders with the confidence they need to make important decisions. Understanding what conforms to company culture and what does not can give a manager a sense of empowerment: as long as they respect company values, their decision will be correct.


10 Important Values for a Leader

Many of the best leaders share a set of values that they apply to their work as organizational shepherds. Here are ten core leadership values to help you shape your own leadership development.

1. Communication: Effective leaders not only have strong communication skills, but they also recognize the importance of consistent communication. They serve as gathering places for team members to check in, share ideas, and learn about company initiatives. In some cases, leaders may even give team members the opportunity to provide feedback on company initiatives.

2. Emotional intelligence: One way to improve your leadership skills is to pay attention to the emotional well-being of those on your team. You can use various reflection models to understand the situation of others. Great leaders do not regard their direct reports as cogs in a machine; rather, they regard them as human beings with their own emotional needs and professional goals.

3. Honesty: A leader who is consistently honest will engage team members with candor. They will convey the same message to all stakeholders within the organization. Because honest leaders do not need to change their story for different audiences, the message can remain consistent.

4. Integrity: Integrity may be more important than any other leadership quality. Leaders who value integrity are more likely to act ethically in their business dealings, both within the company and with third parties. Ethical leaders recognize that a company is more than its bottom line; long-term success comes from treating all parties with integrity and never cheating to achieve a business goal.

5. Open-mindedness: Strong leaders are adaptable and listen to different points of view. They recognize that no one person, not even a CEO, has all the answers and respect those who have different points of view.

6. Self-awareness: Wise leaders recognize their own limitations in terms of skills and competencies. They assign themselves tasks that make use of their best qualities, and they delegate tasks that are better suited to the skills of others. Rather than ignoring their own flaws, they admit them and work to improve.

7. Team empowerment: Effective leadership necessitates empowering others on the team and allowing them to take on new roles within the organization. Employees appreciate leaders who invest in their personal development as well as the company's growth.

8. Transparency: By committing to transparency, you instill trust in all stakeholders. Many strong leaders recognize that keeping secrets from their employees is unnecessary. Because they believe in trust and are committed to transparency, they share critical information with all relevant stakeholders, including strategic plans and financial data.

9. Vision: Visionary leaders can chart a course for themselves and their organizations. This can inspire others and instill trust in the company's direction.

10. Work ethic: Great executives and managers lead by example. If you, as a leader, continually put in hard work, you set a template for all team members. If you slack or show inadequate commitment, team members notice. In the long run, they may even mimic your lack of dedication.

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