What Core Values make a Great Leader

Values are the guiding principles and leadership occurs within the context of core values. A lot has been written about developing and practicing effective leadership skills. However, there are common fundamental values that are the basis of what makes good leadership.

As diverse as they may be, a professional’s set of values and ambitions drive a specific brand of leadership in the corporate world. Good leaders tend to align their values to their company’s unique vision and mission. By actively building on these traits you can develop into a stronger leader and develop a stronger team.  We’ve covered some fundamentals of what value-set makes a great leader. 

Be Honest

Honesty is a leader’s most valued leadership quality because it is a threshold to trust and inspiration. According to leadership experts James Kouzes and Barry Posner, “Honesty is essential to a leader’s legitimacy, credibility and ability to develop trust with followers.” When you are honest about your team’s performance, you will give them the opportunity to make improvements. In turn, this demonstrates that you are confident in their ability to improve and gives them the opportunity to respond to feedback. Displaying honesty even when it means admitting to a mistake, displays a key trait that people are looking for in leaders.  This creates trust in a team, which is vital to ensuring quality teamwork. When your team doesn’t trust you, you don’t get their best effort.

Be Humble

Humility is an important trait to leaders that is often overlooked. According to research in the Administrative Science Quarterly, leaders who exhibit traits of humility — such as seeking feedback and concerned about the needs of others, resulted in better employee engagement and job performance. Humble leaders seek feedback from others to ensure they have all the details and are making choices that are in the best interest of the team. When conducting a meeting, wait before offering answers to let others share their insights. This empowers your team members to handle the issue and gives them a chance to grow. People want to work for leaders who value their opinions rather than dismiss them. Effectively humble leaders are comfortable asking for input and can just as easily be decisive when the situation calls for it.

Be Positive

The leader’s attitude has an enormous impact on the environment and culture of an organization. They truly care about the morale of the team and motivates them with a relentlessly positive attitude.  If you are demonstrating a positive, supportive and encouraging attitude, your team’s productivity goes up.  Some examples are: “When you work with Susan to get the requirements aligned, it keeps things running smoothly and helps the project gets done on time. Great job!” or “From what you contributed in that meeting, it was clear that you have done a lot of research on the topic. Well done.” Encouragement and feedback make a big difference in the performance of your team. At times of conflict, it is the leader’s responsibility to set the tone and have an attitude that motivates people to take action. Your approach has the power not only to lift you up or pull you down but affect your team in the same way.

No matter what your approach is, if you display the previous value-set you will be well equipped to lead a team successfully. Deep self-reflection and a shift in perspective are enormous opportunities for improving your team’s performance by focusing on your own. By deliberately making an effort to exhibit these attributes, people will be more likely to follow you.

By: Kimberly Milani

Contributor: Melisa Fernandez and Mariana Paranhos

Images: Getty Images