Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership

As a post here three weeks ago noted, there is a widening chasm between employees and management throughout business today.  That gap is made worse by executives who don’t communicate effectively. 

So, I was intrigued to attend a luncheon this afternoon where Harry Kraemer, professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and former chairman and CEO of Baxter International, talked about his book, “From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership“.

Harry and I serve on the advisory board of a C-suite outplacement firm, Shields Meneley Partners, and I’ve long been impressed with his enthusiasm and quick mind.  I now understand more about his stellar character.  Harry believes that as the global economy becomes even more competitive, organizations will turn to values-based leaders who, in doing the right thing, deliver outstanding and lasting results.

Harry says that doing the right thing while also delivering outstanding and lasting results can be difficult for leaders to achieve, but he knows it can be done. Harry explains that in today’s economic and political environment values-based leaders are needed more than ever. In “From Values to Action”, Kraemer argues that the journey to becoming a values-based leader starts with self-reflection, which he does every night.  Hary says reflection is the first of four principles that guide leaders to make values-driven choices.  The four essential principles are:

1. Self-Reflection: The ability to reflect and identify what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most.
2. Balance: The ability to see situations from multiple perspectives, including differing viewpoints, to gain a holistic understanding.
3. True Self-Confidence: More than mastery of certain skills, true self-confidence enables you to accept yourself as you are, recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses, and focusing on continuous improvement.
4. Genuine Humility: The ability never to forget who you are, to appreciate the value of each person.

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