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Okay, it’s time to own up. How many of us have a set of company values that are emblazoned on a wall or website but never referenced? Perhaps we use our values when recruiting or we look for them to be modelled by our staff?

But are we demonstrating them as leaders? At the GM Business Growth Hub, we are finding that, in today’s complex and rapidly changing world, leadership has taken on a new dimension - the traditional approach of focusing solely on profit and performance is no longer sufficient to build thriving and sustainable organisations. Instead, values-based leadership has emerged as a powerful force for guiding businesses towards success.

Values-Based Leadership – What exactly is it?

Values-based leadership revolves around leaders aligning organisational decisions, actions and behaviours with a core set of values. It’s really about embedding values from the top down and acting as a role model who ‘talks the talk’ and ‘walks the walk’, guiding and shaping actions and interactions with others, from staff to stakeholders.

Enhanced culture, staff engagement and satisfaction

Leaders who embrace values and are conscious of weaving them like a golden thread through their organisation can inspire a compelling vision and a shared sense of purpose (the ‘why’ in an organisation). This can foster motivation, resilience and empowerment among employees. They understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture, enhancing workplace culture. Employees feel valued and inspired to contribute their best which can lead to enhanced productivity, reduced turnover, and increased loyalty. A positive culture fosters a sense of belonging and purpose, resulting in higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.

Improved ethical and sustainable decision-making

Consistently checking in with values as a leadership team also improves decision-making. When we are guided by our core values as leaders, it helps us to prioritise and align our choices ensuring we consider ethical implications and long-term consequences: ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ This can lead to longer-term organisational success as we focus on sustainable, rather than short-term gains. As well as building trust and credibility with our teams, we can also look to improving our brand reputation making our organisation a great place to work, and work with.

Better teamwork and innovation

Values-led leaders communicate openly and transparently, ensuring their actions align with their words. This, in turn, fosters an environment where open dialogue and collaboration are encouraged, allowing for constructive feedback, diverse perspectives and shared decision-making. In this empowered environment, there can be better teamwork, problem-solving and innovation.

We live in a world where organisations are increasingly scrutinised for their impact on society and the environment. By prioritising ethical behaviour, creating a positive culture, guiding decision-making, inspiring purpose, and nurturing stakeholder relationships, leaders can set their organisations on a path of sustainable growth and positive social impact. And leading with values can hold the key to unlocking these critical organisational outcomes.

By Paula Wadbrook, LSSI Team

Our Leadership, Skills and Social Impact Team can support you in defining your values or work with you in embedding values into your leadership team and wider workforce for organisational success.

Find out more: Leadership, Skills and Social Impact | Support Services | GM Business Growth Hub

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