Values are the guiding principles in our lives. It matters not where or how you were raised, nor of whom your mentors were. Sure, these variables have a tendency to shape the person you become, but they are not a “spring pan” that locks you into a mold until you are fully formed.
Core values are individually adopted and are based on our created core. We each are created with certain instincts that help us to figure out who we are and what to think and do about those environmental systems through which we are initially raised. These core values, when trusted, are the values upon which the strong individual or individual of intense faith will build their character despite the influences around them.
Leadership occurs within the context of core values. Leaders guide and facilitate others to make a positive difference in their own lives and to contribute to a larger good. Values inform the application of leadership qualities as the competencies of leadership are activated — learned, developed, and practiced — within the set of core values.
By focusing on what people believe and value, and then positively building on this understanding, we have the potential for impact far more wide reaching than if we approached leadership development as a problem-solving activity. An earnest conversation with nearly any individual would, I believe, reveal a like list of values which reflect a mutual appreciation for the following.
1. Respect — as demonstrated by self-respect and respecting others regardless of differences; treating others with dignity, empathy and compassion; and the ability to earn the respect of others.
2. Making a Difference — as demonstrated by personal efforts that lead to making a positive impact on individuals, systems, and/or organizations or positively affecting outcomes.
3. Integrity — as demonstrated by moral courage, ethical strength, and trustworthiness; keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.
4. Authenticity — as demonstrated by consistency, congruency, and transparency in values, beliefs, and actions; integrating values and principles to create a purposeful life and to contribute to the growth of others.
5. Courage — as demonstrated by possessing a strength of self to act with intention on behalf of the common good; taking a stand in the face of adversity; acting boldly in the service of inclusion and justice.
6. Service — as demonstrated by commitment that extends beyond one’s own self-interest; personal humility for the sake of a greater cause.
7. Humility — as demonstrated by a sense of humbleness, dignity and an awareness of one’s own limitations; open to perspectives different from one’s own.
8. Wisdom — as demonstrated by a broad understanding of human dynamics and an ability to balance the interests of multiple stakeholders when making decisions; can take a long-term perspective in decision-making.
It is my humble opinion that the afore mentioned values are definitive of the created self that is founded in the soul of each of us. These values, when harnessed, developed within the self and entrusted to the guide of their creator, are the firm foundational characteristics of great leaders.
As I closed my last article, I promised that I would speak of the core values that we should look for as we enter the voting booth. These are those of which I speak.
I believe the various offices designated as those whose charge is to govern our populace, are GOD ordained, and should thereby be respected. I believe that the vote of the people should be upheld and given opportunity to lead. I do, however, also believe that not every choice the populace makes turns out to be the leader the society needs. In that case, then it is the responsibility of the populace to seek to make a better choice next time.
I also believe that the voting booth is not the place to begin one’s search for said leadership. Unfortunately, in our system, in our day, the choices put before us should have been eliminated by the core value filter.
Let us face it, is humility a recognized trait of any one of those “battling it out” on our political stages? Gone seem to be the days when proven leaders are drafted into the political offices they hold. Did you know that George Washington did not run for the newly created office of President of the United States, he was drafted and encouraged to take the office because of his history of proving to be a true leader. He even refused to accept a third nomination. In fact, at least three of the afore-mentioned values seem to be absent across the board of choices thrust before us these days.
Yes, the ballot box is not the place to make your choice for our leadership. The citizens of our country should make themselves so very knowledgeable of the workings and needs and impacts of our government that they would seek and find leaders in and amongst themselves to urge to take on the role. The greatest tool for a corrupt politician is an un-informed populace who will be paying for the decisions made no matter what. Not only would we have proven leaders in the GOD-ordained offices of government, but we could avoid the endless nausea of the campaign trails.
In the words of a regional bard, “Wake-up America!”
Written and submitted by Robert Henry, Living by Faith Ministries, Member of Pickaway County Ministerial Association.