14 Essential Leadership Values To Consider Developing

Updated February 28, 2023

Three people in discussion around a table with a laptop.

When you're trying to become a better leader, it's essential to identify and improve your core leadership values. There are many specific values that effective leaders possess. Understanding what leadership values are and the core values you want to implement into your leadership style can help you improve your relationship and connection with a team, thus becoming a more effective leader.

In this article, we define leadership values and list 14 to consider developing.

What are leadership values?

Leadership values are the core beliefs and principles that guide leaders and managers in their personal and professional lives and allow them to oversee, lead and manage others effectively. Your values are the things you believe are most important to achieving your goals and being happy.

Leadership values can connect closely to both your personal core values and the values of your employer's company. For example, being ethical and empathetic may be personal values but, if applied to your leadership style, may also allow you to succeed as a leader.

Related: Core Values in the Workplace: 84 Powerful Examples

Why are leadership values important?

Leadership values are important because they help you determine how you want to achieve your goals and what type of leader you want to be with your team. Your core leadership values play an important role in guiding how you make decisions and what actions you take on a daily basis. Leadership values also help you grow and develop both personally and professionally. 

Having a strong set of core values as a leader helps build respect and trust among your team. This creates the foundation for you to influence your team in a positive way that encourages high performance and excellence.

Related: Guide to Company Culture

14 leadership values

Here's a list of 14 core leadership values:

1. Influence

Influence refers to the ability to encourage, motivate and guide others to think or act in a specific way to achieve certain goals. Influence is a defining characteristic of leadership because it means having the ability to empower others into choosing certain actions and beliefs rather than forcing them into those actions and beliefs through micromanagement.

Read more: How To Build Your Influence at Work

2. Vision

Vision refers to knowing what your goals and objectives are and having a clear plan for achieving those goals. Vision is an important core value to every leader because they often effectively communicate to their team what the company's goals are and why they're important. For example, having a clear vision of the team's future can allow you to hire the appropriate number of team members for the future.

Read more: Your Guide to Visionary Leadership

3. Honesty

One value that's critical in making you a trustworthy leader is honesty. Honesty refers to the ability to discuss topics with others in a clear and truthful manner. Transparency closely relates to honesty. When others know they can rely on the things you say and promise, it builds their trust and respect in you and makes you a more effective leader.

4. Passion

Passion is the feeling of fulfillment and motivation that drives you to continue to work to achieve your goals even when you face challenges or unexpected setbacks. When leaders are genuinely passionate about the work they do, their team members may see this passion. This creates a culture where your team members feel inspired to also become passionate about their work, which results in greater productivity throughout the team.

Read more: 6 Ways To Find Your Passion for a More Fulfilling Life

5. Integrity

Integrity refers to being genuine and honest and deciding to do the right thing at all times. A strong sense of integrity is important in leadership because your team members can develop trust and respect for what you say and what you do. They also can know they can count on you to keep your promises.

Read more: Integrity in the Workplace: Definition and Examples

6. Dedication

Dedication is a commitment to a specific task, principle or goal. Strong leaders have a high level of dedication to their company, team and the work they do. They show this dedication by following through on promises and pushing through challenges to achieve their goals. This high level of dedication motivates others to show the same level of commitment to their work.

7. Empathy

Empathy refers to the ability to understand the feelings and emotions of others and to respond to their actions and behaviors in a way that shows your understanding of their feelings. Empathy is a core component of emotional intelligence, which also includes the ability to understand and control your personal feelings and emotions.

It's important for leaders to have emotional intelligence because it helps you build genuine connections with your team. Having a strong connection with your team members allows you to help them overcome their personal and professional challenges and results in improved efficiency and productivity.

Read more: What Is Emotional Intelligence? Definition, Key Elements and Examples

8. Personal development

Personal development refers to the act of continued learning, education and personal growth. Great leaders are passionate about continued personal development because they know there's always something new they can learn or something they can improve upon. By showing your team your commitment to your own personal development, you can motivate them to take action to work on their personal development as well.

Related: The Concept of Leadership Explained: Cultivating Effective Leadership

9. Service

Service refers to the act of doing something to help someone else. Great leadership is an act of service, it encourages and motivates others to perform their best work and achieve their personal goals. Servant leaders put the needs of others before themselves. By serving the needs of your team first, you can build a loyal team while also encouraging them to serve the needs of others and the organization.

10. Respect

Respect refers to feelings of admiration for their qualities, abilities or achievements and to regard the rights, wishes and feelings of others. Good leaders earn the respect of others rather than simply expecting to receive respect because of their position or title. One of the best ways to earn respect is to show them respect. Another way to earn respect from others is to show commitment to your work and to serving others.

Related: Trait Approach To Leadership (With Trait vs. Process Theory)

11. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to face adversity and quickly recover from setbacks, challenges and obstacles that you encounter. It's important for leaders to be resilient because they face several challenges and obstacles in achieving their goals. Building resilience can help you effectively address challenges or issues when they occur and lead to improved efficiency and productivity.

Related: Strategic Leadership

12. Adaptability

Adaptability means being prepared to accept and respond to change when it occurs. Adaptability is crucial in the workplace because it's often a frequently changing environment. Leaders often have the ability to welcome and adopt change and motivate their team members to do the same.

Related: Identifying Leadership Potential and Building Leadership Skills

13. Authenticity

Authenticity refers to being genuine and honest in what you say and do. Leaders can show their authenticity by continuing to develop and live by their core values on a daily basis. It's important for leaders to be authentic in their work because it creates an environment where your team members feel empowered to be authentic as well. This makes your team members more comfortable contributing new and innovative ideas and encourages an environment where everyone works together to achieve their goals.

14. Humility

Humility allows leaders to remain humble and remain ethical and morally sound. For example, if a leader completes a large sale, they may celebrate with their team, but not brag or talk too much about their abilities in comparison to other team members. This humility can increase respect and admiration for a leader.

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