Without values, there is no leadership

Without values, there is no leadership

Monday, 25 march 2019 | Redacción CEU

Sometimes, leaders are confused with the people in charge, but this relationship is not always direct. Although CEOs take the highest position in companies, it does not mean that, for that simple condition, they are going to be effective leaders. On the other hand, any professional can inspire other people in the workplace by example, and it can be said, in this case, that they will be exercising a kind of leadership. However, those who convince by force, tyranny, fear, threat, intimidation or with the help of the philosophy of the immediate reward will never become true leaders. A leader must know how to convey and build trust in order to have real influence. This leadership is only achieved when it is built on the basis of strong values.


Being a true leader involves looking inward first to look outward later in time. It is about reviewing oneself. Our behavior is a reliable indicator of the impact that a person generates on the environment, and it is precisely in conduct where the beliefs and values of people are reflected. In 1996, in his book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman explained that among the determining factors of success there are also skills such as empathy, self-regulation, perseverance, enthusiasm or the ability to be self-driven. There are many experts who support that, on the way to achieving goals, the ability to manage our own emotions as well as the external ones is essential.

The importance of communication

Being in command of a team or an organization requires self-confidence. When  professionals show a lack of it, they cannot generate this same feeling in their environment and, therefore, the achievement of goals will be far away. Nevertheless, trust is not earned only with determination and conviction. Silence is one of the most serious health problems of companies. The lack of communication is the first symptom of something being wrong. When professionals who hold a position of responsibility are not able to identify and understand the concerns, doubts or problems of the people they work with, they are curbing the development of both the team and themselves. The ability to actively listen is an indispensable competence of leadership.

A negative or indifferent attitude may hide a need, a misunderstanding and even an opportunity. A leader must be willing to talk, to ask questions and to create spaces where other professionals can raise their doubts and concerns without any problems. Communication does not only help build trust, it also serves as a vehicle to strengthen links among team members. Of course, the use of language is key in this regard. It is not only about adapting the speech to the different interlocutors, the spaces and channels that are chosen also matter. For example, telling bad news by email does not have the same effect as doing so face-to-face in a relaxed environment. This type of behaviors and attitudes which are in line with effective leadership hide behind values such as the respect for others, trust, empathy and responsibility.


Without values, there is no leadership

A matter of values

All organizations aspire to be exceptional, but if the professionals who are part of them are not motivated, happy and committed, they will hardly offer a service that lives up to these expectations. Leaders are people who are capable of bringing ideas and dreams to reality, but they can only achieve it with the help of others. Therefore, the responsibility to motivate, inspire and fan the flames of the team spirit will fall on their figure. Only when professionals are enthusiastic and passionate, and act according to values such as honesty, justice and integrity, will they be able to transmit their emotions to the rest.

This ability to move and have an impact on other professionals is not only achieved through example, but also through generosity. Values mark the personality of leaders, their actions, their relationships and also their priorities. Leaders must understand that to achieve their goals they need people to be aligned with them. For that reason, they must be willing both to receive and to give: they need to trust others, learn to delegate, listen to different points of view, worry about the impact of their actions, open the doors to participation, recognize their own mistakes and forget the culture of punishment.

The label of leader is not earned by the mere exercise of a position. Leadership is measured by the goals that are set, the reasons that motivate them and the path which is chosen to achieve them. Professionals with a lot of influence but with wrong solutions, will not really be leaders, insofar as  they will not be able to inspire and convey their enthusiasm to the rest in a real and effective way. On the other hand, workers with limited responsibilities but who stand out from the rest for their values will be building a successful career based on a true leadership. All professionals have some kind of influence on others and values not only boost leadership, but also professional development.

The CEU IAM Business School focuses on the development of competencies, skills and knowledge of managers and professionals who aspire to lead their environment so that they are able to leave an ethical mark that lasts over time. Among its programs, the International MBA stands out, a unique training in which professionals from more than 30 countries participate and that takes place in three locations: Japan, USA and Europe.

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