Over the years we’ve seen plenty of management styles for improving organizational performance. Many of which do work, but often we see them fail in the long-term. The cause? Unclear goals or improper alignment around goals that create value. In today’s changing workforce environment, we know a purpose-driven company will attract purpose-driven people. Value-based management builds up an organization on just that—value.
What is value-based leadership? Essentially, it’s leading a team by evaluating performance, both your own and your team’s, based on set values rather than specific metrics. This doesn’t mean metrics are forgotten; team members should still be held accountable, but value-based evaluations shouldn’t ever be an afterthought. Henry Jansen Kraemer Jr. describes 4 principles of value-based management in his book “From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership.“
This is not the same as self-absorption, and it’s not a one-time process. To be a great value-based leader, you must be open to looking within yourself and striving for better self awareness. Leaders must self-reflect on what they stand for, their values, and what matters most to them in relation to the company. Before leading your team, define what your values are and what you’re going to do about them. Kraemer states, “Through self-reflection, you do two things–the right thing and the best you can do.”
Firstly, this is referring to a balanced perspective, or the ability to see situations from differing viewpoints to gain a much fuller understanding. Leaders who listen to all team members with an open mind make more informed decisions and present themselves as more transparent, earning respect from others. Listening to all perspectives ultimately leads one to do the right thing rather than focusing on being right.
The second component to a balanced perspective is work-life balance. Work is only one part of our lives and leaders need to take care of the other important pieces as well. Practicing life balance allows you to bring your whole self work and keep level-headed when big decisions need to be made.
The key word here being “true.” According to Kraemer, many people can fake confidence, but behind the facade is a lack of conviction. True self-confidence entails accepting yourself as you are. It means recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses, while striving for continuous improvement. People who are truly self-confident know there will be people more talented than them in certain areas, and they’re okay with that. They have a full grasp on what they know and will work towards growth in areas they are lacking.
Successful people can often attribute their accomplishments to a variety of factors; the truly humble remember this and where they came from. Genuine humility keeps things in perspective, specifically success found in one’s career. These leaders remember that they once started as an intern; they don’t get caught up in the hype of success, but use it as a way of moving up the ranks while still open to learning. Doing this, they relate well to others and foster loyal relationships with team members.
The bottom line is that through values-based leadership, alignment on the company’s mission and vision is more likely and helps the details of business more readily fall into place.