Authentic Leaders Inspire a Culture of Shared Values
We’re constantly asking ourselves the question: what makes a successful leader?
In a recent legal research paper published by the University of Oxford, the author explores the heightened importance of values post Coronavirus amid the mass economic disruptions it’s caused globally. This review concludes that across the world’s biggest companies performance is stronger when leaders are perceived as trustworthy and ethical by their employees and colleagues. This of course, begs an inextricable connection between values, the success of our leaders, and the ultimate productive output of our workplaces.
Our values are the set of rules by which we live and make our own authentic decisions. When leaders highlight and emphasise their own values, they set the example for their employees thereby bolstering their own performance which, in turn, translates to employee engagement and productivity.
As we emerge from the global pandemic, there are challenges for each of us, both on an individual level and on a group or company-wide level to keep such values front and centre. Further to this, remote work makes us feel less connected from our colleagues, isolated, and out of touch with our personal values and the shared values of our communities.
Thus, with the post pandemic emergence of hybrid work environments, it’s of utmost importance to discuss why leaders must incorporate a practice such as VBT into their daily work environments. VBT will reinforce authentic leadership and help cultivate far-reaching atmospheres where consistent values run through the organisation at every level and are the crucial ingredient towards individual, team and overall corporate success.
Values have a trickle-down effect. If a leader, for example a CEO, of a company assesses and understands their own values they will undeniably have a better grip on the foundation on which their company operates. It will be easier to find candidates with shared values and thus a group of highly engaged employees who cooperate with one another whether in person or from remote locations.
Cooperation is underpinned by trust. This brings us back to one of the most highly ranked values amongst individuals at leading companies. How can a business effectively foster a workplace of trust? It seems that with a firm awareness, prioritisation, and ultimate practice of values leaders will be empowered to build a psychologically safe and trustworthy environment.
Universities, businesses, and organisations continue to discuss the importance for any operation to have a shared mission or in other words shared values. Hiring tactics often revolve around finding candidates with the correct set of skills and motivations but often lack an understanding of shared values.
Notable organisational development scholar Edgar Henry Schein proposed a model where basic assumptions shape values, thereby informing behaviour via a means of constant practice. Company culture does not come to fruition in a day, or even many months. However, if leaders incorporate tools into their employees’ day to day working lives that reinforce values, we may be able to instil permanent and positive corporate change.
VBT and values are a gateway to team and organisational success stressing the need for aligned values across the organisation and more specifically how important it is to have a shared ‘team blueprint’ in this VUCA age. VBT allows an employer to truly discover and hone exemplary talent. How? Through value exploration, we will help employers seek happy workers and maintain their current employees’ well-being by encouraging them to pursue ‘what really matters.’ Now more than ever we need leaders to lead effectively, so it seems there has never been a better time for values’ focused tools to come into daily practice.