• Joel Drapkin

How to Add Value to Your Leadership - and Why That Matters (Part 1)

Updated: Jan 8, 2020


In this two-part blog series, we'll be exploring exactly what value-added leadership is, and along the way I’ll share a few actionable tips that you can use to improve your offering as a value-added leader straight away!


Let's get started.


What Is Value-Added Leadership?


One of the questions I am regularly asked is: "Why am I struggling to get the best from my team?"


The answer lies in how effective a value-added leader you are.


At all levels in an organisation there is an expectation to lead; as a senior leader, of course, but also as a manager, departmental lead, team leader, and so on.


However, you are expected to ‘manage’ and to ‘lead’; to achieve the task, manage line reports, and also be an inspirational leader: 


You’ll have heard this before, in one form or another...

  • Management is doing things right

  • Leadership is doing the right thing

Of the two, my experience in organisations is that adding value through leadership is the least understood and practised. 


What Is Value-Added Leadership in the Context of Leadership and Management Skills?


Value-added leadership is like the ether in which standard expressions of Leadership and Management skills exist. 


It’s an added layer of awareness and noticing; an interpersonal magic that comes from a place of humility and strength on the part of the leader. Leaders who add value to their teams and organisations develop a culture and set of values that generate a great work environment, and the best from their people.

In product and service terms, value-added is a gap, a difference in value expressed as tangible income:


Value-added = the selling price minus the cost to produce

From a leadership perspective, Value-added can be seen in a similar way. It is the difference, or gap, between the potential of your team’s performance and its current performance. And the gap is filled with value-added leadership in action:


Value-added leadership contribution = peak team performance minus unchanged behaviour


But Why Bother? 


Let’s face it, organisations don’t make an effort or invest in areas where there is no return!


Value-added leadership benefits both Value (£) and Values (shared). And the results can be seen in the performance of your team and your organisation as a whole. 


It creates value in terms of ‘bottom line’ and ROI (Return on Investment) and also establishes shared values by which your team or organisation manage interpersonal relationships in their work together.


The benefits to your ‘bottom line’ are less tangible than the cost of purchasing a physical item or service, but the ROI can be substantial!


ROI measures such as 360-degree feedback, regular reviews, change impact assessments, and qualitative & quantitative data gathering will go a long way to assessing positive outcomes. But at the same time as reviewing the active ‘positive action’ contributions, it's important to acknowledge the impact of ‘passive inaction’.


More often than not, team members know when there is ‘something’ missing. 

As a leader do you notice this... and what’s it worth?

Ask yourself, where is your team or organisation right now in terms of...

  • The motivation and engagement of team members?

  • Attainment of objectives and targets?

  • Shared values within a supportive team?

  • Employees who feel appreciated?

  • Empathy and mental health support within a team?

  • Creativity and autonomy?

  • The regularity of change in staff and team members?

  • Alignment of personal goals and team goals?

  • Employees being happy in their job?

Leaders will say to me that they haven’t got the time; people just get on with their jobs and are managing them in their PDP once a year is enough. 


In a value-added leadership role, this isn’t enough!


Organisations are ’walking the walk’ putting value-added leadership into practice and seeing a fantastic ROI.


Are you?




In part 2, we'll look at how to be a value-added leader to inspire the best from your team and I'll share my top 7 actionable ways that you can start to add value as a leader right now!


Contact me for a free half-day Value-Added Leadership Review (worth £900) for your team or organisation, which includes:

  • 4 hours of consultation time

  • A pre-visit phone call and visit plan

  • Written report and recommendations

  • Post-visit phone review of the report and action plan suggestions

  • Confidentiality and a sensitive approach


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