Good Values Are Non-Negotiable in Good Leaders
Good leadership is good leadership, whether it’s in the public or the private sector. Lately I’ve heard several people say, “Well, I don’t like his values and behavior, but I try to separate them from his policies,” when talking about a political candidate.
This is faulty thinking. If you don’t like a leader’s values, I guarantee you won’t like his or her decisions over time either.
By definition, a leader you’re following has some power over your life. He or she defines the “sandbox” of life options you get to play in. A bad leader can leave you with very few good options (and a lot of pain) in your job, your career, or your personal life.
The two most important traits of good/successful leaders are:
Empathy for others.
For example, if you see a leader being dishonest with others, it’s only a matter time before they will be dishonest with you. By the same token, if you see a leader acting only in their selfish best interests and not caring about others, then it won’t be long before you’ll feel the sting of this misuse of leadership power.
We know from strategic planning that leaders can (and should) change their policies over time to adapt to ever-changing internal and external environments. Values, however, tend to remain the same in a person over time, and they should be the stable foundation from which a good leader makes those policy decisions.
Can you tell a good leader from a bad one, and are you choosing good leaders?
Remember that values are the foundation of all decisions. If you don’t like a leader’s values, you won’t like how their decisions affect you over time either.
Not only does culture eat strategy for breakfast in high-performance organizations, but values eat policies for breakfast in high-performance leaders.
The two most important traits of good leaders are integrity and empathy for others. Seriously, who wants to follow a leader who is dishonest and doesn’t care about the people who follow them?