Underrated Leader Values All GREAT Leaders Have

... that make the difference between being a GOOD or BAD leader. Leaders that have the 6 underrated leader values not only do what is best for an organization, they also do what is best for the people.

These values are more important than all of the leader skills and capacities. Why? Because you be excellent with all 5 Essential Leadership Capacities and still be a BAD leader.

Underrated Leader Values

How is that possible?

Think about some of the most destructive leaders you know personally or from history. For example, consider Hitler. Rate him. Did he...

  1. consistently get results - get things done? 
  2. execute his plans well, effectively? 
  3. create and encourage teamwork
  4. encourage change and innovation
  5. communicate well?

Seems like you couldn't rate him low in any of the 5. So, if you rate him high on leader skills and capacities, does that make him a good leader? Obviously not! He was a horrible leader. Did he do all of the capacities well? Yes, but he destroyed people and created mass destruction.

So, what made him such a destructive leader?


He had bad values which drove his thinking and actions for the horrors that he led and committed.

A Better Way to Define Leaders

Since values are so important, we need a better way to determine what makes a good or bad leader. 

Remember how "structure demands behavior"? If not, review course 2.01 - Value Right Results AND People. You can also check out Robert Fritz's books and teachings). Overall, your values help create a path of least resistance to the results you achieve.

If you use these underrated leader values, you will be very unique. Why? Because experts overlook most of these values when leadership is taught. As a result, leaders are hurting organizations and the people associated with them.

You will find ALL of the underrated leader values in our GR8 Leaders CATALYST System. In fact, they are the 6 Critical Values of GR8 Leaders. In our updated and revised program, we focus even more attention on truth, self-governance and freedom - extremely powerful underrated leader values!


Definition - Passing up immediate gratification for future benefits. 

That defines self-control also. Whenever you read self-governance, it is also a reference to self-control.

Example - Even when others aren’t doing good work, you do good work. Even when there no authority is there, you do good work. Or you do what is right even though others try to pressure you to do otherwise. 

Need - It increases the capacity of an organization, helps get more done, and frees up supervisory time and resources. Think about an organization where everyone is self-governing. They focus on reaching the organization's goals. Now compare that picture to what normally happens - people doing what they want, even if it is directly opposed to the organization's goals.

Key Focus - Up pursue accountability, are teachable, know the boundaries, understand the consequences, identify the expectations others have of you. What a difference from most people.


Definition - Power under control.

That isn't the dictionary definition of humility, because the dictionary says humility is...

  • marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit
  • not proud or arrogant; modest, unpretentious, courteously respectful​

There is no disagreement with the dictionary, but people assume weakness is part of humility.​ For example, reading the word meekness encourages thoughts of weakness when you do not understand meekness.

But, humility is the power to constrain selfishness enough to serve others and make things about others not "ME". Humility helps you control your strengths so that you use them to benefit others. And, if your strengths are needed, you gladly volunteer without false humility.

Example - Not drawing attention to yourself, not commenting or highlighting your strengths in comparison to others. 

People that have an attractive personality aren't boasting about what they have or can do. They are willing to talk about you and your life without a need to let you know how much they have done or how great they are.

Need - You focus energy and benefits on the organization and others.

Leaders who do not focus on themselves help organize the energy of everyone to accomplish goals and get things done. They do it even if it is not best for them. That creates a benefit for all 5 of the leadership capacities.

Key Focus - Service, serving others.

Humility is abstract and easily misunderstood so, it helps to have something more concrete. While service isn't the only aspect of humility, it is a good compass or test.

Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It’s not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious—but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.Jim Collins - Good to Great


Definition - Committed to give up things you value to benefit the organization and others

Example - Giving up the advancement of self for the advancement of others

An excellent illustration is the sacrifice fly in baseball. A batter tries to hit a fly ball to the outfield in order to advance a runner already on base. The batter will be out, if the fly is caught, not helping his batting average - but the runner advances. The batter that is more interested in increasing his batting average will reluctantly agree to follow the instructions to sacrifice for the good of the team.

Need - Energizes commitment, moves beyond talk about helping the organization and others.

When anyone, especially leaders, show this value, it motivates the team. It is a clear example of actions beyond words.

Key Focus - Courage, contentment, long term / big picture

…participants elicited higher positive emotions and a stronger willingness to work together with the leader when the leader exhibited self-sacrifice rather than self-benefiting behavior… these effects were considerably stronger when the leader did not act in an autocratic (i.e., pushy) manner. - David De Cremer - The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 79-93


Definition - Not controlling or being controlled

Example - Inviting, not demanding, compliance to rules

The invitational model of leading increases commitment and effort of those in the organization. How can that be?

Consider the difference between "have to" and "want to". When you decide to do something, because you "want to", the result is effort you freely expend without threats or rewards. If people are in an organization, because they want to be there, they tend to exert greater effort toward the goals of the organization.

When people "have to", it de-energizes them and "want to" rebel against what they "have to" do. Take a look at course 06 - Use Less Not More Control to study how superior the freedom or invitational approach is for leadership.

Need - Enhances morale and productivity of people and managers

Key Focus - Self -governance, responsible freedom, pursuing the best for others, accepting that others have freedom to ignore you

Value and Develop People

Definition - Value people enough to coach them to higher capacity

Example - Helping a person develop a strength or skill they need or want.

Coaching someone requires the 6 underrated leader values, particularly Sacrifice, Humility and Truth. We like to define using FOCUS - the 5 elements you see to the right.

Need - Enhances individual and organization capacity without adding resources.

Coaching FOCUS

Coaching someone can add substantial capacity to the individual, but it requires diligent effort on the part of the coach.

Key Focus - Be a coach, get to know the people, spend time with them, see them as people not objects or resources

Evidence of the benefit of valuing people is available in the Harvard Business Review article titled "Half of Employees Don’t Feel Respected by Their Bosses", November 19, 2014 (subscription to HBR required). If the employee felt respected, the organization and people benefited.

  • 56% better health and well-being
  • 89% greater job enjoyment and satisfaction
  • 92% greater focus and prioritization
  • 1.26 times more meaning and significance

The sad news of the study was 20,000 employees were surveyed and 54% didn’t regularly get respect from their leaders.

Study the graph to the right and draw some conclusions for your life.

Finally, consider this outstanding news. To get the results shown above requires NO MONEY, change in benefits or remodeling the office! It only requires your commitment to use the underrated leader values.

More Respect - More Engaged


Definition - What is real, genuine and actual

Example - The reality is we are losing money.

It seems that most people are not interested in reality. In fact, a BIG problem that I encounter in working with people is their observation of reality is distorted because...

  • they perceive reality to be BETTER than it is or,
  • they perceive reality to be WORSE than it is

The result is not observing REALITY. Simple definitions for objectivity and subjectivity from Robert Fritz are:


The truth kept wandering in and out of her mind like a lost child, never pausing long enough to be identified. – Margaret Millar

REALITY - How it IS!

The truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch … you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Need - Creates a stable foundation to build viability and advantage. Without the stability of truth, you wobble from one conclusion to another. Truth allows an unwavering standard to rely on, especially for behaviors.

And, yes, there is "TRUTH" and your perception of it. Truth does not care about how you perceive it, it is still true. Gravity does not care if you believe you can fly by flapping your arms, it will still operate with or without your believe in it.

Key Focus - Willingness to “not know”, objectivity, suspending assumptions and opinions, asking questions, listening

The clear implication for your "truth" is the following question. How qualified is my "Who said so" that I am depending upon for my "truth"? That is a critical question to wrestle with!

Help Your Friends Too!