Leadership Tip of the Week: Personal Values

Why don’t leaders talk about their personal values more often?

Our values are a huge part of who we are as leaders. They are behind every decision we make — causing them to be an important element of our leadership.

But if they are so vital, why is it so difficult to talk about them in a public setting?

Values can be very personal, and they are often tied to emotional events that happen in our lives. This can make it difficult to talk about them. We are also afraid of being judged and held accountable for our values. These can be difficult things to overcome.

Getting past these obstacles can really improve a leader’s credibility. It is very powerful when one states his or her values and then upholds them. I talk about personal values a lot in the classroom, and it is often the first time students have openly talked about their own.

We have great discussions about what our values are, how we live by those values and how we handle situations that threaten them. These discussions are often the best, most heartfelt conversations we have in our courses. Students have no problem respecting my position as a professor, but I gain tremendous credibility with them when I open up about my values and talk about how I live by them.

This is a great time to have a discussion about personal values with your team. It will help earn you more credibility as a principled leader.


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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.