Have you ever gone on a road trip without planning your route first? Ever leave without a map or GPS device to give you the turn by turn directions for said trip? Being a leader without having your values established is much like going on the road trip without any direction.
I read a blog post earlier today about an extramarital affair that had led to General David Petraeus resigning his position at the CIA and thought to myself “how can you lead others if you are not a good example to your followers?” The only answer I can come up with is: you cannot. I grant that affairs should really be between the couple and there are probably circumstances beyond the public eye that lead up to affairs, but if we are honest with our spouses like we are with our followers, we may just avoid such problems.
Another article I read today was on the same subject of values, but is a great read on how to find what our your values. I cannot overemphasize the importance of finding out what your values are and sticking by them. Different values do work in very different cultures, different organizations, and different countries for that matter, but discovering what your values are, what you stand for, and how you go about them will lead you to the right place in life and help you fit in to any organization that matches well with the values.
When we decide that values are not important, then our time as a leader should be over. We are the examples that our followers should not just follow, but be proud to follow. We cannot ask something of others that we cannot do ourselves.
As always, looking for comments, ideas, and opinions on this post and any others here. I look forward to what you have to say and hearing the examples you have!