clarity about values
Having more clarity about values, helps one become a better leader because those values will provide a basis for how the leader will carry their team (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). When a leader is certain about which values are important to them, they can perform and make decisions more consistently. By having a leader who is consistent and continuously acts on the values they hold, satisfaction among constituents will increase and a more cohesive team dynamic will occur. Additionally, when a leader clarifies their values and shares the values with their team, it shows team members what their leader will expect of them and what they can expect from their leader (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). Once a leader has identified which values are most important to them, they must then “find their voice” to effectively share these values with their team members.
In terms of leadership, “find your voice” means developing a leadership style which is unique to the individual and fully encompasses their own values (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). To be effective, a leader must be passionate about the values they incorporate into their leadership style, rather than choosing to mimic another leader’s successful style (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). If a leader simply chooses to base their leadership style off one they have seen previously, it is likely they will not be as successful because it will be clear to their constituents that the leader does not truly believe in what they are saying or doing (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). However, once the leader has found their voice and is able to lead in a way that is true to them and their beliefs, their team will enthusiastically follow along and be encouraged to clarify and share their own values. An example of a leader finding their voice, is one who values teamwork and creates teambuilding events for members to participate in. This leader has found their voice because they have identified a value they want to prioritize and demonstrated the importance of the value to their team by implementing a way for the value to be upheld.
While it is important for a leader to clarify and uphold their values when leading a team, it is also important for them to understand that not everyone is going to prioritize the same values. For this reason, it is important for leaders to openly communicate with their constituents to gain an understanding of what values they hold and to identify any shared values (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). Even though there may be differences in the values that each party holds, it is still possible for the leader to remain deeply committed to their own values. Being committed to a value means the leader can still behave and make decisions based on the values which they are passionate about while also encouraging and supporting the values of their constituents. On the other hand, a leader imposes their will on others when they expect all team members to uphold the same values as them without attempting to understand everyone’s passions and priorities. This is different than a leader who is simply committed to their values, and an effective leader must know the difference because when team members feel forced to adhere to values they are not passionate about, satisfaction, enthusiasm, and willingness to work hard will decline (Kouzes & Posner, 2017).
There are several values a good leader should prioritize and uphold, but one of the most important values is collaboration. When a leader values collaboration it tells the team members that everyone’s ideas are important no matter where they stand in the hierarchy. This will lead to everyone feeling confident in their ability to share their thoughts and opinions when working to solve a problem or improve the organization. Additionally, by valuing collaboration, the leader and team-members will consistently be open minded when ideas are being shared. This is important because willingness to hear everyone’s ideas will help to create a solution which is beneficial to the entire team and most appropriate to address the problem being discussed.