Leaders have values … not much debate about that.
However, when you start talking about what values a leader has or how they are expressed, the discussion gets a little more interesting … and sometimes heated.
76,100.000 hits on Google Search in 0.51 seconds for “leadership and values”. Impressive, even if many of those sources will turn out to have little to do with either leadership or values.
Factor in duplication of thought or simple resharing of articles and documents. and the number is probably much smaller. I’ll bet I only have to wade through 30 or 40 million entries.
Hmmm … not much of an improvement. How should I proceed?
Research Says …
Well, I could restrict my search only to peer-reviewed articles … that’s solid academic thinking and I preach this to my students. Only accept sources which appear in academic journals and I’ll get the best thinking on leadership and values available on the planet … or will I?
Good research is the type that moves our knowledge of a topic or an area forward in small increments and is careful not to generalize about the results. That job is for the main stream media.
The point is that research on leadership and values will be very specific and offer little of wide applicability in most cases.
The Street Says …
Maybe the answers and guidance I seek will not come from an academic perception of values, but from The Street.
Plenty of folks are willing to share their thinking on both leadership and on values. Now I’m looking for thought pieces, where someone is sharing their perceptions and experiences, and not just sterile research results. Those are always enjoyable to read and chat about.
Of course, each one is only one person’s viewpoint and you can always find someone else whose viewpoint differs. I may also be sacrificing somewhat in the areas of verifiable evidence and plain old “truthiness”.
My Friends Say …
I also tend to favor articles by people I like or even know, at least through virtual networking, if not in person. Because I like them, their words seem to make more sense to me and I am certainly more accepting of what they have to offer than those “other” writers. This will cut down that Google search list to a much more reasonable length, I would bet.
I will also enjoy receiving reinforcement for my original perceptions and beliefs. Who doesn’t like that?
… or will restricting my input to what I already agree with blind me to other possibilities?
I Say …
In honesty, I imagine that if I intend to cover this subject in a comprehensive and thoughtful way, I will probably do all the above, keeping in mind the positives and negatives of each.
Some research, some opinions, and some diversity make a pretty potent recipe for learning. I just need to add a drop of reflection in to spice it up and create my personal conception of how leadership and values relate.
I can weigh and consider all the evidence, come up with a reasonable and supportable idea or two about leadership and values, then test it out in some measurable way.
This IS how Critical Thinking works, right?
Planning my next move on the road to enlightenment in the Heartland ….