Bringing Value to Leadership at Work and Home

This summer, A Better Chicago launched our speaker series with a lunch discussion meant to inspire and empower emerging business and nonprofit leaders. As we continue our work to cultivate the next generation of civic leaders and philanthropists, this series will convene established influencers and rising stars for intimate, candid conversations on how to tackle the most complex and daunting challenges for our city, our nation and our world. To that end, Harry Kraemer, Jr., Kellogg School of Management Professor, former CEO of Baxter and best-selling author, sat down with members of ABC’s impact council and grantee staff to share some words of wisdom on how to be a values-based leader at work and at home. 

Beyond sharing his four principles for values-based leadership, Harry reminded attendees that we all only have 168 hours a week and how we choose to use those hours—whether with family, friends, work, fitness, spiritual growth or civic leadership—will determine how we lead and what aspects of our lives become priorities. We were encouraged to be honest with ourselves about what our priorities are and be intentional about allocating our time, while also accepting that prioritizing one aspect inevitably leads us to deprioritize another.

Becoming a successful and impactful leader is a process and, with Harry’s tips, we can all challenge ourselves to bring value-based leadership to the work we do in our communities, our offices and our homes. For more of Harry’s insight on value-based leadership, you can purchase his book online here.  

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Harry’s Four Principles for Values-Based Leadership:

  1. Self-Reflection: You should be a constant work in progress and practice self-reflection on a daily basis. This means identifying what you stand for, what your values are and what matters most to you and continuously evaluating your leadership through that lens.
  2. Balance: A value-based leader is able to see situations from multiple perspectives in order to gain a comprehensive understanding. You should always seek to understand others before you attempt to get others to understand you.
  3. True Self-Confidence: This means accepting yourself as you are—recognizing your strengths and weaknesses—while also focusing on continuously finding opportunities for growth and improvement. Embrace the fact that you are a constant work in progress and use moments of self-reflection wisely and productively.
  4. Genuine Humility: Don’t forget your journey and be honest with yourself about the steps and opportunities that led to your success. Always remember where you came from and bring people who started with you, and can act as accountability partners, along the way to remind you. Don’t buy into your own hype.

Harry's Bookshelf

You might wonder what a best-selling author and leadership expert reads to stay on top of his game. Here are some of the books (and TED talks) Harry keeps on tap: