The following post is an excerpt from a recent Leadership Leverage radio show. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Today we’ll be exploring the topic of values.
And perhaps as important is the topic of values as it pertains to the individual leader.
In other words how effectively can you stand up for your values when pressured by your boss, customers or shareholders to do the opposite?
In a larger sense the ability to voice your values becomes the litmus test for your true ability to lead and develop followership.
Why is it that as leaders we often know the right thing to do but have trouble implementing it?
How can we find our values’ voice and become a more effective leader?
What can companies do to better foster and reinforce value-based leadership?
To help us navigate this journey, our guest is the popular and distinguished Dr. Mary Gentile.
Currently Dr. Gentile is the director of Giving Voice to Values, a business curriculum launched by the Aspen Institute and Yale with ongoing support from Babson College.
Giving Voice to Values is a pioneering approach to values-driven leadership that has been featured in such magazines as the Financial Times, The Harvard Business Review, Strategy and Business, and in Business Week and is being piloted in over 100 business schools and organizations globally.
Dr. Gentile also recently released a book on the same topic: “Giving Voice To Values: How To Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right”.
You can read more about Dr. Gentile and her book here: www.GivingVoiceToValuesTheBook.com
Giving Voice To Values
Dr. Denker: Mary I’m curious to know how did you first participate in developing this notion of giving voice to values. What led you down this path?
Dr. Gentile: I’ve been working in the area of business, values and ethics – and the social impact of business – for several decades now.
But a number of years ago around the late 90’s, turn of the century, I experienced what I like to call a kind of crisis of faith.
I began to wonder if teaching ethics in business schools was ethical.
For me this grew out of the fact that we would [have] these long conversations with students, we would examine these challenging values conflicts in business, some global challenges and people would go back and forth about what the right thing to do was.
But in the end at some point students might say, “Mary this is all well and good but in the real world you can’t really act this way, you can’t really do these things. The pressures on you are so great that you won’t be able to behave in alignment with your values.”
That was an answer that I found truly troubling and I actually stepped back from the work a little while and started to reconsider what I was doing.
And the book and the curriculum I’ve developed around “Giving Voice to Values” is really my response to that.
Read More Giving Voice To Values – How To Follow Your Moral Compass As A Leader