What Is Values-Based Leadership?
Defining Values-Based Leadership:
Values-based leadership (VBL) is the exercise of influence in relationships, teams, organizations and communities through choices and decisions guided by explicit and consistently practiced values that balance healthy self-interest and the common good.
Here are some definitions from pioneers in the field of VBL:
“The essence of leadership in any polity is the recognition of real need, the uncovering and exploiting of contradictions among values and between values and practice, the realigning of values…The leader’s fundamental act is to induce people to be aware or conscious of what they feel – to feel their true needs so strongly, to define their values so meaningfully, that they can be moved to purposeful action.” (MacGregor Burns, 1978, p. 43)
“[Leadership is] about creating a values-based umbrella large enough to accommodate the various interests of followers, but focused enough to direct their energies in pursuit of a common good. In practical business terms, it's about creating the conditions under which all followers can perform independently and effectively toward a single objective." (O’Toole, 1996, p. xi)
“For most organizations, building a values-driven culture requires a shift in organizational consciousness from a world view that focuses on self-interest to a world view that focuses on the common good. This shift involves personal and organizational transformation. …Three important changes take place during organizational transformation: a) the organization moves from being profit driven; b) it begins to measure success in terms of its physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health; c) the role of managers changes from being predominantly controlling to being predominantly empowering.” (Barrett, 1998, p. 103)
"Values-based leadership connotes a plethora of different meanings, but based upon my experience in the corporate world, the concept is primarily defined as leading by example, that is, doing the right thing for the right reasons and not compromising core principles. " (Dean, 2008, p. 61)
Recommended Reading :
Barrett, R. (2010) The New Leadership Paradigm. Asheville, NC: Barrett Values Centre
Bennis, W. (2000) Managing the dream: Reflections on leadership and change. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing
Dean, K. (2008) Values-based leadership: How our personal values impact the workplace, The Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 1(1), pp. 60-67
MacGregor Burns, J. (1978) Leadership. New York: Harper and Row
O’Toole, J. (1996) Leading change: The argument for values-based leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.