Peter Miller suggests in order to lead effectively one must have a secure understanding of themselves. One of the important reasons, he stated, is that when managers understand their values clearly they tend to act more consistently. This is the key to building trust with others, which is the glue that supervisors need to lead effectively. To be consistent is to have character, implying that one would keep his word without fail, which is the best way to inspire trust. Keeping a promise is one of the most fundamental and instinctual values of human being.
Trust is necessary and valuable to a leader because the people will be able to work with him, follow his decisions, and orders with great confidence. This drives effectiveness. The business world is filled with uncertainties and when managers understand their values and priorities when conducting business and leading their people, they will be able to remain consistent in their actions, express their character, and inspire trust in others.
This is the most vital aspect of self-awareness in leadership. Many leaders are not fully aware how understanding their own values can influence an organization and success. In fact, values are what define a leader. Values define character. Values set the standard, the rules, the identity, and the way an organization conducts business. This will build the reputation of the company and let people know what to expect when conducting business.
It does not necessarily mean a leader will always do the right thing. Human beings are intelligent and understand that no one is morally perfect. However, when a leader is honest and forthcoming about it, his people know they can count on this person without fail. The more trust gained, the more followers, customers, supporters, and the more success for the company.
Many examples of leaders, such as Chairman Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam (Uncle Ho) who showed a great understanding of his values. Uncle Ho always shared his life with his people. Uncle Ho called his people, “my fellow countrymen, my friend, my children” in a warm, genuine, and affectionate manner. A president of a country who wore simple but neat clothes for every occasion. He worked and lived in a simple wooden tribe house instead of luxurious headquarters, such as the United States White House. He showed that he understood the kind of values Vietnam, and the Vietnamese people needed at that exact time. He led as an example of empathy, simplicity, humility for the Vietnamese people. All of the countrymen united under Uncle Ho’s leadership, through the Revolution to bring Vietnam to a place of independence and freedom. At the time, he was also one of the most trusted figures in the world of international politics because of his humble, simple, and strong character.
In conclusion, understanding one’s own values is vital to becoming not just a leader, but a great leader. When a leader understands his values clearly, his actions remain consistent and will inspire trust from his people, and his business partners will become the key to his success.
By Thuan Le
Image Courtesy of Eugene’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License