Future of Work : Value-Based Leadership for the 21st Century

Robert C. Preziosi, D.P.A., is a professor of management education in the Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is also the president of Management Associates, a consulting firm. He has worked as a human resources director, a line manager, and a leadership-training administrator and has consulted with all levels of management in many organizations, including American Express, the Department of Health and Human Services, John Alden Life Insurance, Siemens, and a number of hospitals and banks.
Dr. Preziosi has been training trainers since the 1970s; his areas of interest include leadership, adult learning, and all aspects of management and executive development. In 1984 he was given the Outstanding Contribution to HRD Award by ASTD; in 1990 he received the Torch Award, the highest leadership award that ASTD gives.

Management in the 21st Century will focus on the well-documented values-based theory of leadership ( DePree, 1992; Tichy & Sherman, 1993 ). The companies that DePree and Tichy and Sherman have written about offer powerful examples of the practical impact of this new theory: Leader values are the guiding principles that determine leader behavior, which, in turn, motivates and inspires follower behavior. The end result is the high performance required for an organization to achieve competitive advantage and future success.


Several authors have helped to identify the specific leader values and associated behaviors that foster high follower performance: Covey, 1991; Garfield 1986, 1991; and Leonard, 1991. What I have learned from these authors is consistent with my own experience with high performance organizations.

There is no magic involved in promoting high performance, although the phenomenal success of some organizations might lead others to wonder if there is. Instead, the same kind of performance is within the reach of virtually any organization.

What exactly does a leader need to believe and do in order to promote high performance ?


The role of a value is to trigger behavioral options, and in choosing options the leader develops a personal behavior system. The leader may act alone in response to his or her own values or may consult others - followers, for instance - and lead them in a brainstorming session to increase the number of options.

For example, "generate renewal," a value / behavior discussed in the previous section, might lead to a group-brainstormed list of options like the following :

1. Develop and conduct a three-day training session on creativity for all employees
2. Design a program for recognizing and rewarding individual and creativity
3. Hire a creativity consultant to identify which organizational activities suffer from a lack of creativity
4. Hold an annual creativity fair at which organizational members present the products of their creativity
5. Train all employees in stress-management techniques so that they feel free to release their creativity
6. Start a creativity newsletter to provide organizational members with tools and techniques for enhancing creativity
7. Stop all normal organizational activity for two hours once a week so that people can concentrate on unleashing their creativity
8. Require every member of senior management to develop an annual creativity plan for his or her part of the organization
9. Build a library of books and tapes for all employees to use
10. Place posters about creativity in every room in the building
11. Attend a creativity conference for senior executives
12. Purchase computer software that assists the creative process and have it installed in every PC
13. Have each member of the organization develop a personal creativity plan with a checklist to measure conformance to the standards of the plan
14. Incorporate a requirement of one new product (or service) per quarter for each business unit

Choosing from these options will depend on the following variables :

  • The requirements of the work unit
  • The participative process that is used to determine choices
  • The results desired
  • The leader's ability
  • The organization's capacity

There may be other variables that come into play, depending on the leader, the organization, and the specific group members involved. The important thing is to be aware of which variables to consider.


Values-based leadership has a significant impact on an organization. Each organization needs to decide which leadership values will drive its functioning. Once these values have been established, specific behavioral options present themselves. After options have been taken, the results can be measured to determine whether the organization is headed in the direction it desires.


Covey, S.R. (1991). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders. New York: Simon & Schuster.

DePree, M. (1992) Leadership Jazz. New York: Doubleday.

Garfield, C. (1986) Peak Performers. New York: William Morrow.

Garfield, C. (1991) Second to None. Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin.

Leonard, G. (1991). Mastery. New York: Dutton.

Tichy, N. M., & Sherman, S. (1993). Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will. New York: Doubleday

The 1996 Annual: Volume 1, Training.
© Copyright 1996 by Pfeiffer & Company, San Diego, CA.

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