The Leader’s Role – Supporting the Values

by Eric Wann

“Values-driven leaders infuse their values into the fabric of the organization. They lead not with commands, not with a thick rulebook, but with a set of core values-what the firm represents and aspires to be. The more these values tap into employees’ own core values, the more they guide individual decision-making and inspire personal achievement.”  

Leonard L. Berry 

Discovering The Soul of Service 

The values-driven leader plays many roles in ensuring success through values. The first is that the leader makes certain that each employee understands why the company is in business and what it wants to stand for. This can only be accomplished by reviewing and discussing the values time and time again. They also use the values to define organizational success. Everything must point back to the very essence of the company, the values. 

Leaders must learn to examine all important decisions through the filter of the organization’s value system. Most leaders would find that if they discussed issues in the context of their values, the path forward would be clearly illuminated. Keeping the values front and center in these discussions is clearly a leadership role.  

In addition, the values-driven leader must cultivate other leaders using the values as a screening tool. All future leaders must understand and demonstrate the company’s values. Talent alone is not enough. Talent must come with a desire to live the values on a daily basis. 

The leader’s most important role is personally living the values. If the leader is not exemplifying the values, no one in the organization will see them as important. The leader must be seen living the values on a daily basis. This includes using them to make decisions, to prioritize time, to deal with people. 

Today’s leading organizations demonstrate how important having a core set of easily understood values can be to their success. But, it is only through the identification, communication, and reinforcing of the values system does an organization reap the benefits.