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Does value make a good leader and a great leader?3 min read

Does Value Make a Good Leader - Jyothika Shetty

At least once in your life time you must have met someone who forced you to ask the above question – at least I have. I wouldn’t be wrong for betting that we have all grown up listening to the importance of “values” in our life. If you have not heard, then someone’s action must have convinced you that a good value system is imperative.

But how important is a good value system in the life of a good leader?

Let us first understand the meaning of Value – in simple language, value represents your thoughts, words and actions.  

Before this, I had not focused much on this aspect as I had taken it for granted that good values are a part of any civilized human being. I was too naive to believe so, until I came across a budding leader who proved me wrong.

He could be described as someone who had some exceptional qualities of producing quality work. He had the ability of bringing the best out of people and getting optimum results for the organization. However, all of this was planned in a way that helped his growth and not others. He only extracted the best of other’s altruistic nature and never believed in reciprocating. The moment he knew the person was of no use to him, he would immediately change his favorites. He was never there for people who supported him when he needed the most. Perhaps even karma would not want to do anything with this human being.

But what surprised me is how well this person was able to project an image of a good leader thus garnering support from the outer circle. However, most of his inner circle was short lived. The closest of his team mates would not have anything to do with him the next year. Many people did realize his low value system and chose to not associate with him, some even addressing him as a con man.

However, the question still remains – how important is value in building a good leader? If people are to believe what is shown at face value, if organizations get swayed with short term results then what is the relevance of a leader with good value. In a time where results do all the talking, does value hold any importance? I would still like to believe so as the results based on low moral rectitude eventually proves toxic.

Looking back in history large organizations hired CEOs based on their attitude towards handling failures. One classic example is that of Ford Motors’ former CEO Alan Mullaly who took over the reins of the organization in 2006 when the company was facing turbulent times. Amidst various measures that he took to rescue the company, he also focused on things that helped him progress – time and energy. He identified the aspects in his life that gave him energy like exercise, family and spiritual well-being. He would have family Business Plan Review where they would review things that needed to be done and the support that they required to get them going. Rest as they say is history on how Ford turned around the company by taking some crucial decisions at the right time.

All this was done keeping in mind his long-term vision for the company and this is where Alan Mullaly’s own value system came to his rescue. This made him not only a good leader but also a great leader. Therefore, what can be derived from this is that value is the corner stone to building sustainable and trustworthy leadership that may not be compromised even for short term gain.

Value is an asset that builds a positive attitude.

Value is an asset that builds your confidence.

Value is an asset that builds long term success.

Build it wisely…

This article was originally written by Jyothika Shetty on LinkedIn. It first appeared on 13th October 2020.

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