”Authentic values are those by which a life can be lived, which can form a people that produces great deeds and thoughts.” – Allan Bloom (“Values” The Closing of the American Mind)

It is refreshing to encounter leaders who make great decisions and produce incredible deeds that are inspired by great thoughts. To be an effective leader, we must learn to manage our presence by leading and living our lives in such a way that our actions are fueled by values that come from our core – our best inner person.

Often, people are evaluating our effectiveness by making impressions or perceptions about us based on our words and behavior. For this reason, it is crucial to live an authentic life from the inside out.  Our lives were meant to be lived out by authentically embracing and reflecting our core values.  What are core values?  They are those innate characteristics that have been providentially put in your DNA to uniquely make you into the person you are.  They are the things that you care about deeply, that empower you to confidently live a credible and compelling life full of purpose in your own style and manner honoring those around you.

Your presence as a leader should convey values that empower you to stay centered because they are based upon who you are, what you believe, what you are passionate about and they are the ‘why’ behind your behavior. Determining and consistently representing those values matter because they will greatly shape and impact the culture around you, where you choose to lead and exist.

This is an area worth reflecting upon and tweaking.  Consequently, to equip you to maintain a remarkable leadership presence fueled by dynamic core values, here are some helpful reflection questions:

  • What matters to me?
  • What things make life bearable?
  • What is the basis or GPS (Guiding Principles and Standards) for my decision? These will become your guardrails in life.
  • What stirs me up emotionally, spiritually and physically?
  • What shapes or impacts my behavior now?
  • What changes do you need to make in order to authentically lead according to your core values?

Words put into action are powerful and transformational. Here is a list of words to get you started:

Integrity          Responsibility       Leadership     Service                  Health
Passionate      Enthusiasm          Reliable          Ministry                Wealth
Authenticity    Beauty                 Reflection       Knowledge           Quality
Strength          Creativity             Sincerity         Encouragement    Love
Compassion    Learning              Friendship     Communication    Peace

Yet, in order to make a difference, you must be willing to live by them. Here are some ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle:

  • Write out your values – keep them in a special notebook or journal
  • Make them concise – you should be able to state it in a brief sentence.  For example, “As a transformational leader, I desire to create a presence that values excellence.”
  • Make them meaningful – they should be life enriching, nourishing
  • Make them personal – they are what makes your heart skip a beat

Make the time to determine your values so that people around you will gain a more accurate impression of who you are, what you believe and why? Perception is powerful. It shapes our beliefs about values expressed by others.  Therefore, determine to focus on identifying your values and living them out clearly, authentically and consistently as a leader.  Remember to brand an image that presents, packages and promotes you with a dynamic presence that reflects the best version of Y-O-U at the core of your values!

Next time, let’s examine how to build our life purpose from our core values.