To be a leader worth following there must be alignment between the values you preach to the organization and the values you live out in every facet of your life.
For my first post, I want to talk about my strongest passions: Leadership and Ethics, Morals, and Values.
I believe that effective leaders, leaders who attract and maintain followers, and leaders who make the good and right things happen for people and organizations have a strong foundation that is built upon their understanding of, example they set, and their consistent focus on Ethics, Morals, and Values.
Ethics and leadership are inseparable. The understanding and consistent practice of ethics is critical to personal and organizational success in the 21st century world. These moral principles of right and wrong must be on display at all times and our decisions, actions, and statements must constantly reflect them.
Morals are inextricably linked to leadership. The principles that govern our behavior must be sound, socially acceptable, and demonstrated in behaviors, thoughts, and actions.
Leadership demands servants with strong personal values. The effective leader continuously displays what is important in their life. When observed, this produces a clear and recognizable statement of the leader that allows followers to buy-in, compare to, and to model after.
I clearly recognize that my personal ethics, morals, and values were shaped by three specific influences across my life span:
- My family values, norms, and beliefs.
- My faith teachings and expectations.
- My Air Force Core Values.
I also recognize that I possess a powerful internal desire to be a certain type of leader. A leader that others want to follow, a leader that gets things accomplished, and a leader who enjoys changing the status quo and can do that while assisting others as together, we make change happen.
As leaders, we must utilize the strength that is gained from our ethics, morals, and values as well as the influences of our life to advance the organization’s mission, develop its personnel, and shape the future.
“Strong leaders are needed now more than ever…”
In my most recent leadership experience, I utilized my personal strengths to advance a dynamic change effort that rocked the status quo and pushed the workforce to seriously reexamine their personal ethics, morals, and values and compare them to those espoused by the parent organization. I believe that an organization’s displayed values are an unwritten contract between the worker and the organization; both must comply with them and both must work to support them for real success to occur. I was able to recognize a shift in the right direction after a few short months of modeling and publicly discussing our beliefs on ethics, morals, and values and the organization turned a critical corner and continues in the right direction today.
Strong leaders are needed now more than ever as we live and work in a fast and dynamic world that has moved far away from the original and fairly simple requirements of the Ten Commandments, doing unto others as they would do to you, and keeping your nose clean. Leaders must be strong, steadfast, and determined to avoid the multiple and complex pitfalls that exist in society.
Leaders in the 21st century need to be unmoving in their beliefs, forthright and passionate in the example they set for others, and bold in their efforts to attract high quality followers and build strong, resilient organizations. A leadership foundation that is built on outstanding ethics, morals, and values is the best possible starting point, alignment guide, and consistent target during their entire leadership journey. Is your leadership foundation solid?