Values in Leadership: Understanding the True Drivers

Values in Leadership: Understanding the True Drivers

Mohandas Nair

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Activity Summary

Allows a group of people to understand how values are strong drivers of the leadership process.


  • To contemplate one's own values and how they drive leadership processes.
  • To understand various value systems and how they drive leadership processes.

Group Size

A maximum of 12 participants clustered in trios. All participants should have had

or will soon have leadership experience.

Time Required

Approximately 90 minutes


Physical Setting

A room large enough for at least four groups of three to work together comfortably.

Facilitating Risk Rating



1. Facilitate a discussion on leadership values. Use the lecturette as a basis. (10 minutes)

2. Divide the participants into triads. Provide each participant with the Values in Leadership: Spiritual Leader Case. (5 minutes)

3. Have the participants read the case and discuss it considering the values demonstrated. Tell participants to work together in their groups for 20 minutes to prepare a list of leadership values for presentation to the large group. (20 minutes)

4. After the time is up, ask one participant from each group to present his or her small group's observations to the large group. Allow for discussion. Record the values on the flip chart. (20 minutes)

5. Discuss each value listed on the flip chart with the large group and solicit participation through responses and experience sharing. (10 minutes)

6. Bring closure through a discussion and a reinforcement of the message that leadership is truly driven by values. Debrief with the following questions:

  • What have you learned about values in leadership that you can apply when you are interacting with your followers?
  • Which value is most important to you? How do you demonstrate it now?
  • How can you be sure that what you have learned is not lost as you return to the workplace? (10 minutes)

7. Ask participants to make arrangements with one another to check each other's progress via email at stated times in the future, such as in thirty days or three months. Give them time to exchange email addresses or make other plans.

8. Ask participants to share some of their ideas with the group and then close the session. (10 minutes)


  • If the group is small, participants could share their responses within the large group rather than breaking into subgroups.
  • If everyone is from the same organization, different case studies from within that organization could be used, enabling a better understanding of the value systems prevailing within the organization.
  • The leadership of the organization's founding fathers could be used as a case to better understand the organization's ethos.

Mohandas Nair is a management educator, teacher, trainer, writer, and facilitator of learning. He earned a B.Tech. (Mech.) from IIT Kharagpur, India, has a diploma in training and development, and has more than thirty years of experience in industry and consultancy in the field of industrial engineering and human resource development. He has published two books, written numerous articles, and facilitated many management development programs.

Excerpted from The 2012 Pfeiffer Annual: Training. Copyright © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reproduced by permission of Pfeiffer, an Imprint of Wiley.


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