by Kenneth Boa

Leadership Qualities: Values
Dr. Kenneth Boa

Values are essential to effective leadership. They are the uncompromisable, undebatable truths that drive and direct behavior. They are motivational, giving us the reason WHY we do things; and they are restrictive, placing boundaries around behavior. Values are those things that we deem important and that provide direction and guidance in spite of our emotions.

Authors writing on the subject of leadership are paying increased attention to the importance of consistent values to a leader's effectiveness over the long haul. (1) Businesses, organizations, families and individuals all benefit from knowing and living by their core values. In business, core values are "the organization's essential and enduring tenets - a small set of general guiding principles; not to be confused with specific cultural or operating practices; not to be compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency." (2) Jim Collins observes that all enduring visionary companies have a set of core values that determine the behavior of the group. (3)

King David demonstrated value-driven behavior in Psalm 15:

"Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken."

Notice that he said the person who enjoys the presence of God and lives a blameless life is the one who "speaks the truth from his heart" (vv. 1-2). Because this person values truth in his heart, his words express truth. Because he values kindness, he "does his neighbor no wrong" (v. 3). Because he values honesty, he "keeps his ...

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