Identifying Your Leadership Values: Your Core Values

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Leadership values are the core beliefs and principles that influence the decisions and the company culture of an organization. Look at examples of common leadership values and discuss how you can determine which values best represent you and your team.

Read more: What Does Leadership Mean?


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Different theories of leadership values

A leader’s values guide their actions and influence their decisions. Different leaders choose different values depending on their background, their goals and their priorities. The leadership of a company often sets the tone for the rest of the organization by establishing core values. By encouraging all employees to emulate and implement these values, a company’s leadership can significantly impact how the organization functions and develops.
If you were to interview the CEOs of the world’s most successful companies, you would hear about a wide range of leadership values. Some of the most common answers might include:

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Authenticity
  • Service
  • Courage



Many companies are built on a foundation of mutual respect. Respect means treating everyone you meet as you would like to be treated. In the workplace, showing respect means listening to your teammates’ opinions and trusting your superior’s judgment. Respect means treating clients and customers like real people and genuinely listening to their feedback.

Read more: What is Respect in the Workplace?



Having integrity means making the right decisions even when no one is watching. A company with integrity is dedicated to being honest and ethical, even when doing so could hurt their profits or reputation. Leadership that prioritizes integrity ensures that the company keeps its promises and follows through to meet expectations.



Many organizations promote their brand by promising authenticity. This value is exhibited through a commitment to consistency and transparency. Leadership that emphasizes authenticity strives to create unity between the company’s ideals and its actions. Often, this is demonstrated started through charitable donations and community service projects.



Another common leadership value involves seeking out opportunities to serve others. Leadership that prioritizes this value makes an effort to provide exceptional customer service and to form long-lasting relationships with their clients. Companies that value service may also expect their employees to prioritize teamwork and cooperation and to give back to their community through volunteering opportunities.



Leadership teams that emphasize courage are committed to showing strength by taking bold actions. Organizations demonstrate their courage by taking risks that have the potential to benefit the company or its customers. Whether or not the risks pay off, the general public often reacts positively to a company’s willingness to try something new. At an internal level, influencing employees to be courageous means empowering them to stand up for their beliefs and to defend their decisions with confidence.


How to know what you value

Determining your core values involves looking backward, forward and inward. You look backward to remember where you came from and the events that influenced your development and growth. Considering your company’s history helps you to see where your priorities lie. If you have consistently made good business decisions that improved the company’s net worth, one of your core values might be financial stability. If you worked hard to develop the brand’s reputation and secure your customer’s loyalty, one of your values may be the preservation of the company’s image.
You should also look forward and consider your company’s future. Many leadership values involve setting specific goals for the coming years. For example, you might set a goal to greenlight a certain number of new projects. This could easily connect to the core values of innovation or imagination. Similarly, if you set a goal to open three new locations in the next five years, your leadership values may be centered on expansion or growth.
You should also take the time to look inward. A company’s values are often based on the personal values of its CEO and its leadership team. If you are personally committed to striking a healthy work/balance, that can influence the values you choose to set for your company. If your CEO strongly believes in the benefit of establishing and maintaining trust, that can easily translate into a core value that guides the entire organization.
Determining your leadership values should be an intentional decision that involves every member of the leadership team. Each individual has a unique history and different goals and priorities, all of which have the potential to inform and influence the direction of your company. Establishing core values are a means for creating unity and channeling your team’s energy to ensure that every employee is working toward a common goal.


Tips about the core values of a leader

A leader’s values have the power to significantly shape the identity, purpose and impact of an organization. A company with distinct values will set itself apart from its competitors and secure a solid position in the industry. Organizations with strong values are also more likely to attract skilled employees who believe in the company’s mission and share its vision. If the members of your team are all committed to and guided by the same values, they are also more likely to cooperate effectively and to help your company reach its goals. For these reasons, choosing the right values is one of the most impactful decisions a leadership team can make for an organization.


Leadership values FAQs

Here are answers to a couple of frequently asked questions regarding leadership values:


How do leadership values affect the workplace?

Depending on which values your organization emphasizes, your company’s beliefs have the potential to radically influence the daily activity in the workplace. Values that prioritize communication, creativity and teamwork influence how employees approach projects and how they interact with each other. Values that relate to performance standards, like commitments to quality and reliability, influence how employees complete their tasks and how your management reaches out to those who are struggling.


What are some effective ways for leadership teams to communicate their values?

Once you have decided on a set of leadership values, the next step is to communicate them to others. To emphasize them to your employees, you can post the list of values somewhere in the office or integrate them into staff discussions. To share them with your customer base and the general public, you can reference them in your marketing material or feature them prominently on your company’s website.

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