Values-Based Leadership

Values-based leadership is the idea that leaders should draw on their own and followers’ values for direction and motivation. Values-based leadership philosophy asserts that people are mostly motivated by values and live according to these beliefs.

In other words, values are our most natural motivators. It is natural for leaders to refer to their own values in creating a vision or making decisions and equally it makes sense for leaders to connect with their followers’ values which makes them more likely to act.

Richard Barrett, author of Building a Values-Driven Organisation, defines values-based leadership as “…a way of making authentic decisions that builds the trust and commitment of employees and customers.”

As a philosophy, values-based leadership assumes that an organisation based around shared values is likely to be more flexible and productive. Leaders who apply this philosophy are likely to experience certain inner benefits.

• Leaders will make better choices feeling more comfortable to act upon them

• Leaders are likely to build better, more trusting, less stressful relationships with followers

• Leaders are more likely to feel aligned with their ‘authentic self’

A person’s values are at the core of their sense of identity. So by definition, authentic leaders will always act from their highest values.

Barrett, Richard. (2006). Building A Values-Driven Organization. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006. Print.