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Want High-Performance Rocket Fuel? Consider Values-Based Leadership
March 27, 2023

Research shows values-based cultures outperform the rest

I recently delivered a talk and facilitated an event in Dallas that focused on values-based leadership for one of IOCI’s clients. To their credit, this client is very committed to collaborating with employees to define, continuously refine and practice the commonly held values that shape their organization’s culture.

Very few organizations leverage this “superpower” in their day-today leadership and engagement with employees. In fact, in their book The Servant Leader, Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges say fewer than 10% of organizations have clear, written values that go beyond words on a wall. Even though the book was written many years ago, research suggests the commitment to leading with values – and I mean truly living, breathing and practicing them in everything an organization does – is still quite low.

Which is why in this post, I’m weighing in on the importance of values-based leadership to employee engagement, and how it results in higher organizational performance.

Why should we care about values at work?

Values-based leadership is a management philosophy that focuses on aligning organizational goals with individual values, creating a positive work culture and building strong relationships among team members. When leaders prioritize the values of their employees, they demonstrate that they care about their team members as individuals, not just as workers. This creates a sense of connection and loyalty that encourages employees to invest their time and energy in their work. In short, employees are more likely to be fully engaged.

Employee engagement is a critical factor – the rocket fuel – that drives the success of any organization.

Engagement is a measure of how committed employees are to their work, how connected they feel to their colleagues and how passionate they are about the organization’s mission. The Gallup organization tracks employee engagement and provides many years of survey data that shows engaged employees are more productive and more likely to go above and beyond their job requirements to help the organization succeed. In other words, employee engagement is a critical factor – the rocket fuel – that drives the success of any organization. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative and committed to their work, leading to higher levels of organizational performance.

What does it look like in practice?

Values-based cultures promote a work environment where employees believe their contributions matter, that they’re working together on a unified purpose and that they share common values that encourage collaboration and teamwork.  This can lead to better communication, improved creativity and more effective problem-solving. As a result, employees are more likely to work together effectively and be invested in the success of the team as a whole.

Other important aspects of values-based leadership are accountability and responsibility. When leaders hold themselves and their employees to high ethical and performance standards, they create a culture of integrity and trust. This can lead to greater transparency, improved decision-making and stronger relationships with customers and other stakeholders. When employees see their leaders modeling ethical behavior and holding others accountable, they tend to do the same. This can elicit a culture of excellence that drives higher organizational performance, credibility and differentiation in crowded and competitive market sectors.

How does it impact hiring, retention?

Finally, values-based leadership can help organizations attract and retain top talent. In today’s competitive job market, employees are increasingly looking for companies that align with their values and provide a meaningful purpose and positive work culture. By prioritizing values and fostering a supportive environment, companies can differentiate themselves and attract the best and brightest employees. In addition, values-based leadership can help to reduce turnover, because employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to stay with their current employer.

If you’re wondering how to foster a positive, creative and high-performing culture that attracts and retains top talent for achieving long-term success, values-based leadership may be an essential strategy to help your organization thrive in today’s highly competitive business environment.

Marialane Schultz

Marialane Schultz is the founder of IOCI. She helps individuals and organizations perform at their best, do meaningful work and be impactful through customized coaching and consulting engagements.

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