By Jun Marfori
The Case for Values in Leader, the Foundations of Who You Are
Despite what our achievements might be, how extremely popular, praiseworthy or marketable we become, how our successes emerge as the benchmark and the raised bar that many will aspire for – it may always be worthy to ask reality check questions such as
- What are we essentially?
- What defines us, ultimately?
- What is our foundation?
- What do we consider to be significant and meaningful?
We might be at the pinnacle of globally accepted definitions of success – but the important measures are “What and who are we, at our very core?”
I grew up in an era when the Marvel Superheroes in hard copy comic book form were extremely popular. Their images were animated and alive; the characters like role models in my innocent, malleable mind; and their physical super powers on my wish list. I coveted them so highly they preoccupied many hours of my waking and daydreaming. I thought it would be cool to be like Capt. America or Spiderman – possessing strength nearing invincibility, emerging victorious in battles against evil and villains – popular, revered, praised and the “saviour” to many. So when in recent years the unexpected but pleasantly surprising event happened when these super heroes came to life in the big screen – they swept and hurled me into such a thrilling throwback, and my imagination soared.
At the back of my mind though, I knew that the effect would be fleeting. The movies would be as insignificant as they had once career, family, and other more weighty priorities had caught up with me. For succeeding decades, these super heroes were dethroned, their superpowers no longer relevant, unimportant, and were unrealistic.
Then in one particular scene in Capt. America – these men become larger than comic book heroes, and took on a character that I seriously think today’s leaders can imitate, follow, emulate and role model.
When on the verge of the experiment on Steve Rogers to become “super,” the scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine reminds him of what heroic leadership is all about, what winning and conquest and vanquishing “foes” really mean, and what taking on the qualities of a true leader is – at its core. That when this transformation, change, or shift is over, the scientist hopes – “That you will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”
When Business Writer Brittney Helmrich of Business News Daily asked Business Owners, Managers and Experts to define Leadership, her poll came out with 33 definitions of Leadership. As you might guess, there were popular recurring themes – being a visionary, thinking big, motivating, inspiring, coaching, challenging, listening, empathizing, guiding, supporting, equipping, empowering, training, stretching, innovating, among many universally accepted and empirical traits.
But among these so many, there was one whose definition seemed like a glistening orange fruit in a barrel of red apples, and it spoke about the significant things, the fundamental, the foundational, the “core” of being a leader – and it is about being a “good man.”
“A leader is someone [who] leads by example and has the integrity to do the right thing even when it is not popular. A good leader has positive influence over others, inspiring them to become a better person and example for others to model their life against, as well.”
That today’s leaders need to possess and demonstrate traits and qualities of the successful Leader, based on research and empirical evidence is undeniable and without doubt. Successful ventures and enterprises, global companies, start-ups and long standing giants will certify that.
The reality is that good or superior performance, skill sets, achievements, mindsets, technologies, KPIs, metrics, definitions of quantifiable success – all these will evolve, as times change. But our core – our foundation, our essence, our character, our values – will and should remain timeless.
As successful leaders take stock of themselves and introspect, self-assess and seek increased effectiveness – it may pay handsome long-term dividends and immeasurable returns to include among the key criteria – Am I a good man?