Five Values that Empower Personal Leaders


Success is the feeling I get when I live out my values. 

I often take teams and personal leaders through a values clarification exercise. You start by listing all the values that are vitally important to you. For example:

  • Life-balance
  • Spiritual peace
  • Health and vitality
  • Personal drive
  • Goal-setting
  • Family relationships
  • Recreation
  • Personal development
  • Friendships
  • Dreaming big
  • Being purpose driven
  • Humility
  • Lifestyle quality
  • Adventure

Sometimes the list grows to over 25 values. Then you narrow it down to your top 15, then your top ten, and finally your top 5 values. It is powerful to watch a person or a team decide what values they will embrace, what they will live for and what they will die for. 

Those values come from the core of their beliefs and faith. I won't address those here, because I believe you must wrestle them down personally.

Instead, I'd like to suggest five values that empower personal leaders:

  1. Serving others - People have a lot of different motivations for leading others. Prestige, power, privilege. I believe the only true empowering motivation is serving others. In the military, officers eat last. They make sure the frontline soldier is fed first. A true leader serves. They are motivated by love and concern, rather than personal glory.
  2. Inspiring purpose - For years I was focused on being successful. Being recognized. I remember clearly focusing on a certain position by age 40. I also wanted the symbols of success. A large home in a more prestigious neighborhood. A high-performance car and fashionable wardrobe. Sad but true. It's almost embarrassing to admit now. My defining moment came as a result of being unemployed. I finally asked and answered four questions to unlock my purpose:
    1. What's the center of my life? 
    2. What is the character of my life?
    3. What is the communication of my life? 
    4. What is the contribution of my life?
  3. Inner character - too many leaders are like bad parents. They tell their kids what to do and then live how they please. But over time kids get smart. They see the increasing and gaping cracks in character. I like to remind parents and leaders "values are caught, not just taught." Each of us must make our mental list of personal character and then live it. Model it: truth telling, responsibility, integrity, work ethic, and personal discipline. 
  4. Self-renewal - As I pen these words, it's 6:15 AM. The first hour of my day that usually starts around 5 AM is dedicated to 20/20/20. 20 minutes of spiritual renewal – reading journaling, and prayer. 20 minutes of personal development and reading. 20 minutes of mapping my day and listing my three MVPs – most valuable profitable use of time. That personal discipline renews my energy, my soul, and improves my mind.
  5. Key relationships - Family first. My wife and children are the key to everything I do. Because I have three grown children who all now have careers, my goal is to at least have one quality interaction with them each week. Your leadership and influence is not drawn upon a position or title but from authentic relationships. Treating your friends, colleagues, clients, and inner circle with extraordinary kindness and respect is incredibly important. Connecting with them authentically… Not with technology, but face-to-face.

Certainly there are other important values for leaders, but these are the ones I put at the top of my list. I encourage you to examine your own core values and beliefs and decide which values are important to you and start living them. They will empower your personal leadership!

For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve at: or call: (425) 681-9871.

The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance.