Value-based Leadership verses Ethical Management

Which is better value-based leadership or ethical management?  Or are they one and the same with just different names? 

Business management ethics was a big topic in the last two decades of 20th century. Then came the 21st century and everyone began to talk more about value-based leadership although the concept had been around for some years.   

Values and ethics should overlap in company leadership since personal core beliefs are what should influence the decisions that need to be made.  However most think of ethics more along the lines of a business code of conduct that defines what is acceptable behavior for employees or when dealing with customers. Whereas values are more about feelings of what is right or wrong about a situation that should help guide people to make the best move. 

Great values-based leaders will do the following:

  • Articulate and clarify the values for the organization
  • Explain how these values impact decision making
  • Hold employees responsible for keeping these values in their work
  • Reward those who show values-based efforts in decisions and service.
Many books have been written on various leadership theories, including the topics of ethics and values.  If you want to check out the top recommended books for values-based leadership, keep reading.  For a brief description of the four principles From Values to Action book (on Amazon #ad), check out Forbes article “The Only True Leadership Is Values-Based Leadership(2011).  According to Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr, the four principles are self-reflection, balance, self-confidence, and humility.  In the book Value Leadership (published 2003 and on Amazon #ad), Peter S. Cohen outlines seven principles:  value human relationships, foster teamwork, experiment frugally, fulfill your commitments, fight complacency, win through multiple means, and give to your community.

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