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A Formula for Leadership Success: Four Considerations of Values-Infused Leadership

October 21, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute


The formula for leadership success is never as simple as 1 + 1 = 2. In fact, a recent article in Inc. Magazine identified 7 Leadership Qualities You May Not Know You Have, pointing out that some personality traits, which might have been considered “weaknesses” in the past, might lead to personal leadership success today.

We agree with the author’s assertion that empathy, optimism, forgiveness, altruism, eloquence, discernment and modesty are all important factors in determining potential leadership success. We also know that great leadership comes from consistently demonstrating these types of traits over time. 

At Disney Institute, we believe that great leadership depends upon the actions one takes with respect to the organization’s values. We call this “values-infused leadership.”

What defines a values-infused leader? Simply stated: these leaders actively cultivate success by making values foundational to their decision-making. These Four Considerations help to determine their effectiveness:

  1. Aligned vs. Misaligned – Values-infused leaders ensure their personal values are consistent with the organization’s values so that they can authentically establish, operationalize and sustain those values. Misalignment between personal values and organizational values can cause conflict and create an unsustainable work environment.
  2. Proactive vs. Passive – Proactive leaders seek to establish values by determining what is important to the organization, and they actively pursue the embedding and sustained execution of those values. Passive leaders often lack conviction and allow values to form organically.
  3. Purposeful vs. Inconsistent – Purposeful leaders recognize that their organization’s vision may need to change over time, and they actively pursue change when necessary. A purposeful leader will also staunchly defend against potential threats to organizational values. They know that when change is necessary, it must not conflict with established values. 
  4. Inclusive vs. Exclusive – Inclusive leaders believe that everyone is a leader (or has the potential to be a leader), and they believe in empowering all employees to act as leaders who reinforce organizational values.

Keeping these considerations in mind – what behaviors are you exhibiting now? Where do you have opportunities for growth?

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Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Excellence, Leadership Values, Values, Leadership Skills, Values-Infused Leadership, Bruce Jones


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