Characteristic #9: The Right Values

By | September 19, 2013

Loyalty in Chinese[September 19, 2013]  Senior executive leaders recognize that values1 held by people will be one of the factors that determine the success or failure of that employee and of that organization.

In today’s work environment, it is no longer politically correct to enquire about personal values.  This is unfortunate because there are values that directly contribute to a successful employee, and there are, conversely, values that do not.

Recognizing that some specific value contributes to organizational effectiveness (or not) is a necessary skill of the successful leader.  For example, an employee that believes in the rewards of hard work for its own sake is better than one who believes that the organization owes him a living, benefits, and a guarantee of employment.

What are those values that contribute to a successful employee?

Here are my personal top five values that directly contribute to employee success:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Respect of others
  3. Honor and Integrity
  4. Moral Courage
  5. Integrity

…and here are my top five values that contribute directly to workplace success:

  1. Hard work
  2. Positive attitude
  3. Team player
  4. Reliability
  5. Problem solver

Regardless of the values possessed by the employee, the key question is whether they are a right fit for the organization.  If so, the employee is more likely to stay with the organization and be successful.

For employee values, senior executive leader responsibilities are exercised in three ways.  First, through value education of the workforce.  Second, through support networks via a mentor and other leaders.  And third, through rewards to those who exhibit values that lead to successful job performance.

Values can be taught, although modification of employee values from the job are minimal.  This is why the determination of values up front, and whether they are harmonious with the organization, is so important.

The senior executive leader bears full responsibility to articulate those values that best fit the organization, for selection of employees with the best fit values, for continued education on those values, and for ensuring they help lead to a successful organization.


[1] Values: Important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable.  Values have major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.  Some common business values are fairness, innovation, and community involvement.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.