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Values-led leadership: 8 steps to lasting success, by Clare Baker

The ‘post-Brexit’ world brings more change and uncertainty than ever before. How far do these pressures challenge your commitment to do business in a way that is good for you, your teams and the world we live in?

Creating lasting success requires exceptional leadership. You play a key role in ensuring your organisation, employees and the environment can thrive in the long term.

Business leaders and experts agree that values and culture are the new competitive edge. Their power lies in how they inspire individuals and organisations to achieve great things. Clarity of purpose and acting in line with values also leads personal fulfilment.

Before we can lead our teams, we must first learn to lead ourselves. Here’s how.

  1. Listen to yourself

Feeling things are ‘a little off’ is a sign something needs to change. I sat at my desk, tired, confused, and feeling disempowered. No matter what I tried, I wasn’t having the impact I wanted. Something had to change.

That moment at my desk four years ago was the start of a journey that has transformed how I work. Working in companies that do and don’t live their values showed me the positive impact of a values-led approach – not only at work but in all areas of my life.

  1. Find your true north

Discovering what matters to you provides clarity and direction. It also helps you do things consistently, building trust.  As leadership expert Simon Sinek says, the start of change was to ‘learn my why’: to help people live, work and do business more sustainably.

Know where you’re going and why you want to get there = increased motivation, commitment and productivity. Even on those days when I feel a little less than confident or when I encounter bumps on the road, I am pulled forward by the difference I want to make in my life and for others.

To find or refine your purpose, you need to…

  1. Develop your know ‘how’

Our values define how we live. They influence our priorities, guide our decisions, and shape our goals. This is because values are linked to our needs – they are the things we cannot live without.

If you’d like to explore your values, try this personal values assessment from the Barrett Values Centre – the report you receive has some exercises and tips for deepening your awareness of what matters most to you.

  1. Be authentic

Success and fulfilment come from being true to yourself. I learned this the hard way. Because sustainable food is a passion, I decided running a café was an option. My friends and family loved the idea and I got swept away by their enthusiasm.

But one of my values is security and the financial risk was too great. My values of curiosity and freedom mean travel is a priority. Making a difference and helping others fulfil their potential are critical to my sense of fulfilment.

Owning a café didn’t fulfil these values and that feeling of ‘wrongness’ returned. I needed to be true to myself and not follow what those around me expected.

  1. Act in line with your values

How you live your values is shown in your actions and behaviours. I followed my value of courage to step away from a career I loved but was not sustainable. Long hours and a long commute were affecting my energy, health and relationships. I was tied to London when I want to walk on the beach after work. My skills and passions don’t fit neatly into a role description.

Understanding your values and your ‘why’ motivates you to change. I trained as a coach and mentor and now feel fulfilled in my work. I am moving to the coast this autumn. I feel a powerful sense of ‘rightness’, of being who I need to be and doing what I am meant to do.

  1. Use a values-led approach in your leadership role

Personal values are one of your greatest assets in the workplace. What I do professionally mirrors my personal values. This builds trust – and I love to go to work!

Align your personal and business values. My values of balance, sustainability and courage translate into the concept of sustainable success. I champion people to set courageous goals and aim for the right result, not just any result. I also help clients use their time, energy and resources to meet their present needs in a way that supports their ability to continue doing so in the future.

Your values are your compass – they help you navigate challenges, set priorities and make difficult choices. One way I use my values is to manage tensions between short-term consultancy opportunities and building my coaching practice for the long-term. Values are also a useful guide in managing change, or making decisions where your choices will impact on stakeholders in different ways.

  1. Put it into practice

You can develop your own values-based leadership strategies using the 4-step process developed by Mark Albion, a former Harvard Business School professor turned social entrepreneur. It takes time, but I’ve found it invaluable.

  1. Make your values work for you with a free taster session

Identify your values and understand how they can help you get the results that matter. You will gain new self-awareness and some practical steps you can put into action immediately.


To find out more, get in touch with Clare: clarebaker@sustainablesuccess.world


About the author

Clare founded Sustainable Success to help people live, work and do business more sustainably. Following a successful career in the non-profit sector, raising funds towards team targets of £12m, she now provides leadership and team coaching to help people build successful lives and business in line with values.

Clare is passionate about food that tastes good and goes good. She is proud to volunteer for sustainable food initiative, Food Float, and her food hero is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

You can find out more at www.sustainablesuccess.world, connect with Clare on LinkedIn and follow @ClareJaneBaker on twitter.


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