On Leadership, Values and Beliefs


Since the early 1900’s social scientists have developed a number of approaches by which to consider leadership. Lists of characteristics, influencers, behaviors, style definitions, and processes all build upon, yet sometimes conflict with each other.

A leader can learn the characteristics, confidence, behaviors and styles that are most effective, given the specific situational variables.

However,  certain inherent attributes are necessary that influence the leader’s behavior in a group or organization.

On Values and Beliefs

At the core of every thought and interaction is a set of deeply rooted values and beliefs.

We are all guided by our values. How we choose to react to others is influenced by what we value.

When I ask clients to identify their five most important values  I get a deer-in-headlights look back.

It is often the case that we are not even consciously aware of the values that influence our decisions and interactions.  When a cord is struck with us that goes against our values we feel it as stress, anger, frustration, and even betrayal. The same is true for a group of people in an organization.

Recalibrate Values Cards

What are the Top Values of everyone you lead? Find out here.
Recalibrate Values-Cards Exercise

Understanding Values

Think of your last job interview. Did the topic of values come up? Leading others means understanding the collective values and shared sense of purpose.

When personal values do not align with company values work becomes just a job.

When a company decision directly opposes a personal value the impact is disengagement, low morale, and lower productivity.

Leaders who understand this need to do three things:

1.Reflect on the principles, beliefs and values that drive themselves

2. Engage in work that aligns with their values

3. Understand and engage others whose values align

Knowing yourself and letting others know you as a leader will define you as authentic.

Learning To Lead Yourself

Leadership is a cycle of self-reflection and action. The first step in developing as a leader is having a very honest conversation with yourself about what you value.

Consider a list of values and circle the ones that stand out to you.Now cross some off so that you only have ten left. Now take five more off the list of circled values. Those are your top five values. Try crossing off three more. Then one more.

What is left is your core value; the one thing that you would not compromise. The one thing that, if others threaten, you react strongly. This is the one thing that guides everything you do. It is deeply rooted and part of you.

What is a guiding principle by which you live? What is one virtue you could not live without? How is your core value evident in your leadership? Have you ever been in a position where your values were threatened or did not fit with what you were expected to do? What did you do? How do these values align with your organizational values?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Jacqueline De Leebeeck
Jacqueline De Leebeeck is founding partner of Savvy
She facilitates leadership capacity building and team development
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web

Image Sources: startofhappiness.com

L2L Contributing Author


  1. Rami Kantari on November 22, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Reblogged this on Executive Training Dubai.

    • Jacqueline De Leebeeck on November 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Thanks for sharing Rami!

  2. Larry Walker on November 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Hi Jacqueline,

    Very good article on a very important subject. Knowing one’s own values is critical.

    The next step is beginning to look for and understand the values of others that you work with.

    The real challenge is to then find common ground that encompasses your values as well as the differing values of others. Because — just like you, they will not abandon their core values either.

    • Jacqueline on November 22, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Thanks for the comment Larry. You are absolutely right that there needs to be congruency between organizational, leader, and follower values or the movement will not succeed long term.

      I hope to post something about this congruency in the future!


  3. Jagoda Perich-Anderson, M.A. on November 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I agree with Larry, Jacqueline. Living with integrity (and that requires knowing your values) is key and step one. Leaders often have followers with differing values and finding that sweet spot where they intersect or demonstrating respect if they don’t, is step two. This is part of the art of leadership.

  4. V. on November 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

    • Jacqueline De Leebeeck on November 25, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for sharing.

      • V. on December 10, 2013 at 6:54 am


  5. tanveer ahmad on November 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

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