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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Positive Leadership: From Values to Action

From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership

By Harry M. Kraemer

Reading this book you get the feeling that Harry Kraemer is the consummate nice guy. When he started his corporate career as the junior member of a team that was working in cubicle, he decided to set as a goal for himself not to advance to the next step, but to commit himself to making a difference by doing the best job he could, treating the people around him with respect, and never putting the his own needs and desires ahead of the goals of his team or organisation. Some years later, having advanced all the way to CEO, he still graced the softball games and dinners of those who served with him in the cubes.

Along the way he developed some principles of values-based leadership that obviously served him well:

·         Self-reflection: Increases self-awareness. It is the key to identifying what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most. It requires asking yourself key questions, such as, What did I say I was going to do today, and what did I actually do? What went well? How did I treat people? What would I do differently, and what did I learn?

·         Balance: The ability to see issues, problems and questions from all angles, including opposing viewpoints. Encourages you to seek multiple perspectives to gain input rather than consensus.

·         True-self confidence: The ability to see and accept yourself exactly as you are. Helps you to identity your strengths, improve your weaknesses and admit when you are wrong or don’t know something.

·         Genuine humility: Never forgetting who you are, appreciating the value of each person in the organisation, and treating everyone respectfully. This keeps you from forgetting where you came from and keeps you focused on and connected to others.

Mastering these four principles will lead you to connect with and gain much greater influence over others than mastering networking and various techniques of persuasion. The reason? Your ability to influence people whether one or fifty thousand, depends significantly on their ability to appreciate your values. 

Any of your employees, peers, partners should be able to explain what you stand for in consistent terms, and it should be evident to new people you meet.