Some leadership values are unique, but some things matter to most leaders. Fundamental leadership values like honesty, integrity, influence, vision, and empathy enable intelligent, effective leadership. Being an effective servant leader is only possible by observing and promoting these values.

“The most important thing about leadership is your character and the values that guide your life.” – Brenda Barnes. 

Every human endeavor needs a purpose and a set of values that lend it direction and effectiveness. You can only achieve something if you know what you want to achieve. And if you understand why you want to achieve that something, the values that will guide your journey to the objective will become clear.

Leadership is an undertaking needing principles and core beliefs that guide leaders and shape their leadership.

Leadership coaching understands the outsized impact clear values can have on leadership performance. As an executive coaching professional, I look to drive my clients inward to clarify their personal values, motivations, and core beliefs. These inner-core leadership elements power the outer core of every leader’s competencies.

core values

Your core values define your leadership. 

Your core values have much to do with why you want to lead. They also define how you can achieve your leadership goals. Some leadership values are as unique as leaders. Since they often intertwine with a leader’s personal values, leadership values can stem from unique personal experiences.

From the perspective of leadership coaching, it’s safe to state that all leaders share a handful of common leadership values. Here’s a look at the five most important values for a leader.

1. Vision

The best leaders understand how they want their organizations to be in the future. They know what they want to achieve and understand what they and their organizations must do to achieve it.

They can communicate this vision to their reports, inspiring and motivating them to help accomplish it.

Those who see the future have an obvious advantage over those who don’t. Leaders are best positioned to predict the future since they are ideally positioned to build it.

2. Influence 

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell. 

Influence is the essence of intelligent leadership. Intelligent leaders don’t order others to join them on their journeys. Nor do they compel anyone to share their visions. They make others want to join. They get others to want to improve and contribute.

Through influence, leaders empower their reports to take action independently. Leadership influence is the Holy Grail of executive coaching. We do what we do to grant leaders positive influence over their followers.

3. Honesty and Integrity

Trust is the indispensable prerequisite of effective leadership influence. People only draw inspiration from those they trust. A lack of trust always implies a measure of contempt, making it impossible for the two parties to relate to one another on positive terms.

“I’m not perfect. But I’ll always be real.” – Tupac Shakur. 

No leader is perfect. And employees understand that. They don’t need perfect leaders. The myth of the infallible autocrat has only ever hurt leadership and performance.

Honesty and integrity entail leadership vulnerability, and vulnerable, relatable leaders find it easier and more natural to exert influence.

4. Empathy

Empathy is an intelligent leadership ability that allows leaders to connect with their reports on a profoundly human level.


Empathy enables deep, meaningful connections. 

A component of emotional intelligence, empathy enables leaders to manage conflicts, build collaboration and trust, improve communication, engage employees and motivate them, innovate, and adapt to disruption.

Empathic leaders influence others easier, as they understand their behaviors and emotional reactions. They know how to use empathy to build meaningful relationships and a positive work environment.

5. Service

Servant leadership has been the most effective leadership since biblical times and before. Leaders who perform deeds to help others, forward their careers, and improve their lives find it easy to attract followers.

Servant leaders put the interests of the community ahead of their own. They build loyal teams and contribute to creating a coaching-focused culture in their organizations.

Business coaching understands that only organizations with positive and vibrant corporate cultures can thrive. And business coaching professionals value leaders who predicate their leadership on solid personal and professional values.


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