Leadership is a complex ideology where countless experts have all added their unique brand of color to the conversation making the debate even more controversial. Ask 10 people to define leadership and you are likely to get 10 different explanations. That is not to say that their answers are wrong. It is evidence of the wealth of information that exist on leadership. But is serves as witness to the complexities that have diluted the central focus of leadership.
Even as I peruse my LinkedIn feed, I am certain to find a handful of leadership articles. I welcome the diversity of thought but what is the best approach? Which leadership model offers the richest value to the art of influence? I have spent more than half of my life researching, studying and putting to use the diverse leadership models that exist. In the process I have taught leadership to countless others at all levels.
Right now we are inflicted with a disease that has created a cancer within this country. The ailment is unhealthy leadership. Eroding a values-based system that promotes relational and emotional intelligence. Instead what we are living with is the repetitive miscarriage of justice aimed at leadership practices focused on “the what’s in it for me mentality” guaranteeing upward mobile leaders to further spread this cultural, political, economic, and societal ailment.
Values-based Leadership refocus one’s mental aim to core values inherent to their own connectedness with those they lead. This philosophy of leadership places attention upon human interest. It is about doing what is right regardless of the external variables. When practicing Values-based Leadership the experience of leading others becomes less experiential and more interpersonal.
If you want to lead your people, you first have to understand them. If you want to understand your people, you have to love them. Do you love your people? Ultimately, it is not the magnitude of our actions that matters but the amount of love that we put into them. – Mother Theresa
Maybe one reason why this leadership model is not more widely adopted is because it has a dream like quality that suggest it is too good to be true. Practicing Values-based Leadership is guaranteed to: promote self-led employees, inspire greater teamwork, instill a ripe culture of trust and respect, breed enhanced loyalty, generate fairness and equality, create an instinctive social consciousness, bolster creativity, build work / life balance, and elicit confidence among workers to inspire greater productivity. Executed correctly leaders and employees enter into a symbiotic relationship motivated to further meaningful work that offers a higher return for all involved.
Now there may exist different interpretations how this leadership model is intended to work. Some have connected it to the values of the leader themselves; still others imply a different connection to the company values, mission, and vision. Both seemingly have their place in the discussion. But I share an advanced and original framework that places intelligence factors at the core of Value-based Leadership.
This counter-proposition targets influence through relationships, behaviors, emotional responses, ethical decision making, spiritual formation, attitude and personal values. Let’s examine this philosophy more closely:
Ethical Intelligence (EQ): There is a true due north for leaders who rank high in their Ethical IQ. Unlike their counterparts there is little differentiation that regulates ethical discourse in a highly segregated world of competing objectives. Decisions are guided by a non-negotiable core value that places importance to decisions made with integrity. It is the spirit of doing the right thing, because it’s the right thing, every time without fear of consequence. Risk is mitigated in response to the cornerstone of integrity that remains a guiding principle in the life of the leader.
I began with ethical intelligence deliberately to assert that no leader can positively influence the lives those they are entrusted to lead without first having been led themselves to a place of fertile ethics. No amount of skill, book smarts or on-the-job experience will ever suffice if ethics and integrity fail to serve as the backbone of the leader’s actions. Inevitably, like a house of cards everything will fall in on itself.
Relational Intelligence (RI): Steve Saccone defines relational intelligence as, “the ability to learn, understand, and comprehend knowledge as it relates to interpersonal dynamics.” Dave Ramsey pins relational intelligence as one’s value in the marketplace that is a key indicator of personal and professional success. And still John Ortberg characterizes this intelligence by saying, “Relational IQ measures the capacity for a person to connect to others with skill, warmth, authenticity and genuine compassion.”
The richness of developing a high Relational IQ is that you add value to the importance of relationships over and beyond the bottom-line. Results remain secondary to the investment you, as the leader, expend in the lives of your employees. All primary objectives are rooted in the ability to nurture meaningful relationships that exponentially increase engagement levels to foster an environment of trust, loyalty, and commitment. Relationship take center-stage in establishing the company culture guided by the leader.
Emotional Intelligence (EI): Is the ability to harness control over your own emotional responses. Business journals have cited that Emotional IQ is a better barometer of leadership success than one’s IQ. The Harvard Business Review has hailed emotional intelligence as “a ground-breaking, paradigm-shattering idea,” one of the most influential business ideas of the decade. Daniel Goleman is father to this idea which has now become part of leadership paradigm for Fortune 500 companies to international governments. Its mass acceptance is proof of the power of having an Emotional IQ.
The acid test for any great leader is how well they can perform under pressure. Checking their emotions at the door or not wearing them on their sleeve garnishes support for all other essential leadership traits. This not the byproduct of living in a world of political correctness. Instead it is the fundamental truth that serves as a force multiplier to creating a dynamic presence as a leader – success through embracing the psychology of a harmonious relationship between mental intelligence and emotional intelligence.
Behavioral Intelligence (BI): Unlike the former, emotional intelligence, the concept of behavioral intelligence is the ability to identify, connect with, and measure the behaviors of those you lead. By exercising the other intelligence factors, you as a leader can influence behavior with greater dexterity. Developing a Behavioral IQ is a patient process that is more experiential than theoretical. Taking a hands on approach to coaching and mentoring – making this a core value – equips you to effectively and efficiently modify behavior towards achieving the desired results.
Influence is futile if the actions taken do not generate the ROI regarded as necessary to advance the mission, vision or values of the company. Goals remain nothing more than dried ink on paper. High watermarks that may be reached out of dumb luck. Exercising behavioral intelligence ensures to some degree the ability of the leader to influence performance to meet desired results through guiding behaviors that value goal achievement. But let it be known, that without mastery of the other aforementioned intelligence factors, behavioral intelligence remains a pipe dream.
Spiritual Intelligence (SI): Just as we determined with emotional intelligence, there exist an innate relationship between cognitive processes and emotional responses, so too exist a symbiotic relationship between the physical self and the spiritual self. I coined the phrase sDNA (Spiritual DNA) in my upcoming book to expand upon this relationship. All great leaders have a value system that is either directly rooted in or closely connected to their own personal spirituality. Developing a faith system as a leader creates a positive force within you that enriches the heart and mind to the needs of others.
You cannot lead without faith. Subscribing to the strength drawn from a higher power creates the necessary balance between the physical and spiritual that marries leadership to a higher purpose. The leader’s heart is the life force which defines their character.
Show me the heart of any man and I will tell you what they stand for. — Robert Anthony Olszak
This is not religious rhetoric but an empirical truth that cannot be denied. Personally, my Christian values and the lessons offered within the Bible have as much to do with the lens for which I view leadership as anything else. If you don’t believe this truth than I recommend you visit John Maxwell’s Leadership Bible. The ledger in the Bible is rich with leadership principles that offer guidance on what to do and what not to do.
When you disassociate yourself from a values-based holistic approach to leadership you compromise your own leadership influence. Beyond the framework provided, it is critical that you expand this model to include the values that you hold self-evident. Only then can you fully act upon Value-based Leadership in such a way that you increase the value of your own leadership equity.
I propose that all leaders need to subscribe to this paradigm. The problems, challenges and issues created in a volatile world economy, unstable political milieu, and increasingly contentious societal culture demands strong leadership – the kind of leadership fundamentally argued as necessary in a Value-based Leadership model.
All rights reserved to Grace Covenant Consulting and Robert Anthony Olszak, copyright 2015.
For more information regarding Value-based Leadership and our leadership training programs contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.