Promote leadership values

N°257b – Synopsis (8p.) – Values
Promote leadership values
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Many companies seek to develop leadership by communicating on strong values. But these are often at odds with the reality in the field. How can you promote leadership values in a credible way?

Many enterprises seek to develop the leadership qualities of their managers, or even of their entire staff. Indeed, the stakes are high. Research shows that the behavior of the direct line manager has a considerable impact on the commitment of the staff. Similarly, the continual need to innovate and adapt requires that we can interact in a fluid and constructive manner with the people around us, and not only that we satisfactorily accomplish our tasks or pilot our team. This is why most enterprises invest in training, to enable everyone to acquire the reflexes and techniques that favor such behavior. Many also seek to promote shared values—such as team spirit and listening skills. Rather than training on techniques that will be more or less well implemented, affirming the enterprise’s values enables us to clearly highlight the types of attitudes and behaviors that are expected from everyone.

A majority of enterprises have thus adopted a reference set of values or leadership principles. But putting them into practice is regularly confronted by a difficulty: if the majority of the staff happily adhere to them in principle, they also feel a deep gap with their everyday experience. For sure, we share the ideal of cooperation. But should we always cooperate? Aren’t those who succeed the best the ones who manage to both defend their personal interest and that of their department? Similarly, who has never seen a manager who is recognized for his/her listening skills lose a promotion to a more assertive colleague? In reality, we must know how to deal with contradictory imperatives. The ideals of leadership might appear really naïve. This gap between discourse and reality thus generates skepticism, even cynicism. The reference set of values is thus often the object of a pretense of acceptance, before being discretely set aside to turn back to “real life”.

This pitfall is by no means a curse. It is not because we aim for an ideal that we must rebuke reality. The more the promotion of values takes into account the complex reality of the field, the more credible it becomes.

In this synopsis:
- Communicate leadership values
- Leadership to the test of reality
- Four tracks to facilitate the adoption of new behaviors

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