Over the years I have worked with several leaders who possess different qualities, strengths and weaknesses. However, one important quality that sets them apart from one another is their ability to lead by their values. As unique as our fingerprints, so too are our values.

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“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy E. Disney


In the past, discussions often centered on the personality traits of leaders. Recently, the focus has shifted to the ability of leaders to build a foundation of trust and inspire confidence within their team members. As a coach, I strongly believe that the best way a leader can build trust is by striving to lead by their values. Although not everyone will agree with your ideas or action plans, you will build trust and respect if you lead by a set of consistent values.

Authentic leaders lead by their values and irrespective of external pressure and influence, their actions and daily decisions are driven by their core values. Values are much more than morals or ethics, they represent what is important to you as an individual. What gives you purpose. What’s left after the initial motivation has worn off. The thing that goes beyond passion.

Values identify who you are at your very core, they are the fundamental principles that you live by. Values are crucial standards that govern your body, mind, and spirit and are manifested throughout the course of your career and personal life. It’s what allows you to show up, again, and again, without fail.

Our values reflect who we are on a daily basis and gives us our sense of purpose. Our values set the standard for what is acceptable and not acceptable and is the basis for evaluating your personal progress at work and your effectiveness as a leader in business and your personal life. When we go against it, we feel that unsettling feeling, that internal nagging sensation, and more often than not it preoccupies our thoughts and creates a lasting distraction.

Leading by your values gives you more energy and creates a sense of fulfilment because you are leading from what’s important to you. To illustrate: A tree is made up of different parts; the roots, branches, leaves, trunk and fruits. The roots are our values and their strength determines the strength of the branches, trunk, fruits and leaves. Just as a strong tree supports the ecosystem; a leader with strong values engenders trust.

Your Values Inform Your Decisions

The key to being a successful leader is being conscious of your values. Making decisions in tune with your values affect every facet of your leadership style. You make decisions that are consistent with who you are and what you stand for. You will be able to make decisions at a higher level and lead with independent courage. You can’t possibly give what you don’t have, you can’t lead others until you can lead yourself. Leaders who lead by their values are consistent in the way they managed situations and deal with people. 

Your Values Provides You with Direction

Identifying your values and leading by them helps you develop a framework by which you make smart decisions. In today’s saturated world, where there are a lot of things that compete for your attention, having the ability to focus on what is truly important is critical. Discovering your values will help you to assess situations, allowing you to efficiently prioritize and focus on what matters most to you. Clarity comes from knowing your values. It’s your internal compass with a direction of true north. All roads might lead to Rome, but your values will lead to your core, your purpose, your legacy.

Your Values Reveals What You Stand For

An important feature of effective leadership is self-discovery. A leader without a recognized set of personal values will lack direction, be easily distracted with being busy, and thus will be ineffective. Such a leader will be like a rudderless ship tossed about by the waves of the sea. Living by a set of defined values and allowing your team members to know what you stand for will enable you to lead from a foundation comprised of accountability, consistency and integrity. This will help you to build trust and credibility.

Once you start sharing your values with your team members you start creating an atmosphere of engagement, mutual trust and respect. Your unique set of values are what set you apart from other leaders. Discover them. Own them and lead with them. Others don’t have to agree with your values, because it’s not for them to, it’s for you. If acting on your values causes internal conflict, perhaps they truly aren’t your core values, and it might be worth looking at from another perspective.

Invest in Your Core Leadership Values

Identifying and leading by your core values gives you an opportunity to build on the foundation of a self-assured leader. Your values encompass your talents, passions and strengths. Defining your values enables you to determine how they align with your organization or immediate environment. A hugely important but overlooked step is spending time to identify your values.

The Bottom Line

Identifying your values is an introspective process that will yield enormous benefits especially to your leadership legacy. Furthermore, your core values represent your primary motivator – an energizing force that induces action in each of us as leaders. Take time to access your values periodically, keep them before you constantly….and chances are you’ll make better decisions, increase your ability and capacity to lead and expand your sustainability.

As you lead, keep your values in mind and they will be manifested in your behaviour, decisions and conversations. What is more, your values will guide your thoughts, goals, dreams and aspirations. Your team members will see a credible, authentic and trustworthy leader who is worth following.

Do you need help identifying your values? Or would you like to know how your values shape your leadership? I’d love to hear from you.



About the author: Kyle Kalloo is the Chief Executive Officer, Business Coach with Change My Life Coaching and Strategic Leader. Through his management training and experience with McDonalds, Famous Players (Paramount) and WestJet, and all of the ongoing learning and development he’s completed, Kyle has refined and perfected skills and processes and is eager to share how to execute them efficiently to help individuals and companies achieve even more of their dreams. 83% of Kyle’s business comes from referrals. https://www.changemylifecoaching.ca and https://strategicleader.ca