Building Trust Through Values-Based Leadership
‘Ethics and trust act in tandem. Think of them as the respiratory system and heart of the organization. If one fails, the other follows. Keeping them in good shape requires constant attention and daily practice.’ Ethicability, Roger Steare
Richard Barrett, author of Building a Values-Driven Organisation, defines values-based leadership as "...a way of making authentic decisions that builds the trust and commitment of employees and customers..”
Values-based leadership is the idea that leaders should draw on their own and followers' values for direction and motivation. Modern leaders, in this now very globalised world, must attempt to reconcile the conflicting interpretations of 'ethical' in all cultures represented by and affected by the leader's activities and responsibilities. So we have to consider ethical leadership on a more pragmatic and local level.
We know that proactive ethics is part of what it takes to build trust. Trust can be seen as the core to create high performance engaged cultures and high quality outcomes.
Leaders who apply this philosophy are likely to experience certain inner and external benefits:
- First, leaders will make better choices - that are comfortable for leaders to act on. The right decisions are good for people and the company’s reputation.
- Second, leaders are likely to build better, more trusting, less stressful relationships with followers. This supports high performance and engagement.
- Third, leaders are more likely to feel aligned with their 'authentic self'. It reveals the overlap between values-based leadership and authentic leadership. Operating authentically delivers on trust.
If we lead in ways that are trustworthy, we are fulfilling an important part of our responsibility as ethical leaders. When it comes to leading ethically, trust is not a nice-to-have, it’s a “must have.” If we lead ethically, that lets people know they can count on us, and being able to count on us builds trust with individuals and within the group
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