Mary Gentile and values-driven leadership
Values-driven leadership is a leadership framework that stresses the importance of setting clear organisational values that can be embodied by the entire organisation, from senior executives right through to team members. As such, this is highly tied to building an ethical organisational and business culture that gained increasing importance in light of a range of corporate missteps and disasters, perhaps most pertinently the Global Financial Crisis. Consequently, this leads to calls for value and ethics-driven leadership and management.
Values-driven leadership has reframed traditional approaches used in leadership and management, through its specific emphasis on actions, as opposed to focusing on merely the cognitive or theoretical notion of “what is right”; but rather, how “what is right” can be implemented in practice through concrete and specific steps and asking the question of how leaders can act on their values (Gentile, 2014).
Giving voice to values
“Giving voice to values” is perhaps the most widely-known existing approach to Values-Driven Leadership, which was pioneered and created by Mary Gentile.
This innovative framework was based on the idea that previous approaches around business ethics tended to predominantly focus on analysis and awareness by teaching leaders which ethical problems they may encounter and how to analyse these. According to Gentile, this approach was incomplete as it did not give leaders the skills to take action when they felt that value-based or ethics issues arose.
Out of this notion, Gentile established “Giving Voice to Values” which is an action-based approach to values-driven leadership. This approach provides business students, leaders and managers with practical skills based on action-planning and pre-scripting to address value-based concerns when they arise and make concrete, specific plans on steps to take action to address these.