Creating and building a successful company isn’t easy. Many make the mistake of focusing solely on profit and workload, not realising that the key to success lies in the company’s people.
And more specifically, its leaders.
A bad leader can ruin a business, but a good leader can push a business into places unimaginable.
Leadership is what holds a team together, drives employees with motivation and keeps productivity, engagement and happiness levels at its highest.
But leadership isn’t easy either. Team members are often very different, with many different opinions, ways of working, likes and dislikes.
So what makes a great leader? It’s all about taking a values-based approach.
Why values-based leadership?
A company’s values are the reason it exists, and it’s the core of everything that the company does. So why shouldn’t a company be run by its values?
Many successful business owners will advocate that true leadership is always best expressed through the shared beliefs and values of a company’s top management, which moulds the company’s core identity and mindset.
Values-based leadership motivates employees by connecting the company’s goals to employees’ personal values. It’s all about how the people in a team think, behave and what ethics they share. It’s about leading a team with a strong vision, mission and principles.
Believe it or not, people actually want to work for companies that are aligned with their own personal ethics and values.
Design Intelligence states:
“When an employee understands their deeply held values, they serve as motivators, creating strong personal and professional connections with others and the organisation. Quite simply, it is easier for us to align with people and organisations with similar values and it creates numerous possibilities for individual and firm-wide productivity.”
Let’s look at The Body Shop as a values-based example. It’s a company that has very specific and widely shared values which are deeply rooted into the core of the business. It’s really unlikely that an employee against those values would work there. The company, therefore, attracts employee team members that believe in similar values of sustainability, anti-animal cruelty and more. These types of employees that share the same ethics are highly engaged and productive compared with those employees who don’t share the same values.
But values-based leadership isn’t only good for employees, it’s good for leaders, too.
Harry M Jansen Kraemer from Forbes says:
“By knowing myself and my values, being committed to balance and having true self-confidence and genuine humility, I can far more easily make decisions, no matter if I’m facing a crisis or an opportunity.”
That’s what it’s all about.
If you’re not sure how to create a vision, mission and values that will engage employees, here are 4 steps to help get you started.
How is values-based leadership good for business?
As mentioned earlier, values-based leadership improves business management and motivates team members to do their best through shared purpose.
Productivity is really what it comes down to.
And productivity can really be interfered with when leadership is lacking, or worse when leadership is sour.
Through the use of values-based leadership, you can enhance employee productivity by creating a culture of sincerity, loyalty and self-sufficiency. It really is the best way to build a high-performance culture.
Simply put, productivity and engagement = better business.
When core values represent the soul of the company, you deliver better, more authentic business. In fact, a company that has a common set of values that are practised strengthens the company and its culture, increases role clarity, staff retention, and productivity for the long term. And the company is even more likely to remain strong in the face of changing market trends – something every company strives to achieve.
Having shared purpose in a company also fosters trust. And when you fill the work environment with trust and vision, it results in clear communication, purpose and better business (not to mention, more inspiring and motivational work).
That being said, research has found that high trust environments foster employees who are 22 times more likely to take risks that could benefit the company. It was also found that employees who work at high trust companies are 8 times more likely to report higher levels of innovation compared to their competition.
This list of benefits really is endless.
To take on values-based leadership correctly and sustainably for the long haul, it needs to be genuine and sincere.
That means in order for employees to believe and follow the depth of the company’s values, the leadership team needs to lead by example and communicate clearly and often.
It also means that the effectiveness of this leadership approach lies in how true and established the company’s values are, as well as if the leaders believe and live out those values.