The Lasting Value of Values-Based Leadership

Last week we were thrilled to launch our ClearEdge Rising LinkedIn series “This is Rising” with an inaugural event focused on values-based leadership.

Our goal with this series is to share with current and potential ClearEdge Rising members, and their allies, the types of topics, discussions, and learnings they could expect to engage  in when membership goes live in July. 

We couldn’t think of a better place to start than with a topic that’s timely and impactful for all leaders. Leaders today face an evolving work culture, continued economic uncertainty, and the need to prioritize best practices that support success within and outside an organization. 

Women rising in the leadership ranks face these challenges, plus the added struggles of being held to different standards, having a lack of role models or mentors who’ve taken the journey before them, and facing cultural expectations that they be more accommodating to those around them to the detriment of their own needs. Women need access to tools that can help them balance leadership demands with their authentic values, have their voice heard, and lead teams in a way that supports the best outcomes for all involved. Practicing values-based leadership is one of those crucial tools.


What is values-based leadership?

Values-based leadership isn’t a buzzword. It isn’t a fad. It’s an approach to leadership grounded in thoughtful actions, decisions, and behaviors that are guided by foundational principles shaped by core values. But before you can access core values to guide you through important moments, you must know them. And remember them. 

I strongly believe identifying core values, and leading in alignment with them, is fundamental to personal and professional development. For example, in tough relationship conversations, they can serve as guideposts to ensure a desire to be liked by a person doesn’t detract from the clarity needed to engage from a place of truth. 

Values ultimately provide us with a compass from which to operate, and act as a connective thread that carries through all we do in all aspects of our lives. 

That’s why values work is prioritized for ClearEdge Rising members. Once you, as a member, have an understanding of your core values (the top 3-5 values most important to you), it brings clarity and depth to all the other topics you’ll explore while you’re a member. These could include building trust, navigating conflicts, strategic thinking, or others of interest to you.

In the end, you’ll discover how to use your core values to become a more conscious, focused, authentic, and grounded leader—a leader who is more aware of the impact you have on yourself, your team, your company, and those in your life.


Why is values-based leadership so important? 

Values-based leadership requires a higher level of self-awareness. Leaders who put forth the effort on a daily basis to be more deliberate, and base their actions on values, might not feel that it’s noticed or might question if it’s worth it. I can tell you 100% that it is, in the best way possible.

Fulfilling your role as leader by coming from a values-based mindset changes the way you perceive and experience interactions. It also changes the way others in those interactions perceive and experience you. It creates the space necessary for more proactive, present leadership, which directly impacts company dynamics and outcomes.

When it comes to culture, leaders without question set the tone. An honest, empathetic, transparent culture attracts more candidates, increases employee retention, and creates an environment where you as a leader, and your team, can more freely learn, grow, and connect.


How do you know you’re leading with values?

For me, if I walk away from certain situations with a pit in my stomach—that gnawing feeling that something is off—I know that something not being in alignment with my core values might be causing it. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to our physical reactions to situations. 

Being attuned to your body, and its responses, can clue you in on important information that helps you improve as a leader. For me, the pit in my stomach is the signal. For you it might be sweaty palms, a tightness somewhere in your body, a headache, racing thoughts, or the inability to stop thinking about a situation. 

But, keep in mind it’s not only identifying moments where actions and values are out of alignment, it’s also how you respond. When I get that feeling in my stomach, I have a choice—ignore it and move on, or address it (and possibly the person or persons I interacted with) to come back into alignment with the leader I want to be and the leadership integrity I want to uphold. 

It’s not easy. Values work compels us to pause and allow space for us to act with greater awareness and intention. As a leader, you face countless demands on your time, and it can be tempting to forgo that pause. After all, work culture is often full speed ahead. But skipping that pause means risking authenticity, clarity, and stability. If you skip it enough times, it could also mean risking the very relationships you’ve worked to build. So, yes, it takes patience and dedication to commit to values work. But I will tell you from my experience that it’s incredibly rewarding, and more than that it’s a critical component in developing an effective and inherently sustainable leadership approach.   


Three A-HAs to help with your journey

As you consider taking the leap to begin leading in alignment with your core values your own values journey, these three key points from last week’s LinkedIn Live are important to keep in mind:


  1. Values activate courage to conquer the hard. Leading from a place of aligned values doesn’t necessarily make leadership easier, but it empowers you to fulfill your leadership responsibilities with self-awareness, authenticity, clarity, and groundedness. The difficulty that comes with making tough decisions will always be part of your job. What values-based leadership does is transform—your emotions, your reactions, and your impact on other people.
  2. Core values don’t negate other values. Condensing your values into 3-5 key ones does not diminish the importance of the values that didn’t make the cut, or their role in how you present yourself to the world. To effectively employ our values when we need them the most, we must be able to recall them quickly, which necessitates maintaining a shorter list.
  3. Values apply to all aspects of your life. Engaging in values work serves as a foundation for personal growth in other areas. Whether you aspire to become more courageous, consistent, skilled in communication, or adept at decision-making, values can provide a guiding framework. And while they may not offer an immediate, definitive answer (spoiler alert: such answers are often elusive), they do pave the way for approaching challenges with greater success and fulfillment.


Missed last week’s LinkedIn Live? Forget the FOMO and watch the recording here. 

If you’d like to learn more about how ClearEdge Rising can help you explore values-based leadership, or if you’re ready to join the diverse community of women leaders who are part of our growing member base, email us anytime at