Implicit Beliefs, Articulated Beliefs and Beliefs In Action

The effects of values and beliefs on leadership behavior is an interesting field. And it's a bit more complicated then one would think at first glance. The link between links and values and leadership behavior is a lot less firm than one would think.

First, let's not downplay the link. What a leader believes about people, his organization, or herself affects what he or she does. That's why understanding oneself is considered by some leadership experts to be an important part of leadership development and becoming a better leader.

How do values and beliefs affect leadership behavior?

Consider this about beliefs and values. Articulated beliefs, or explicit beliefs and values are those that the leader openly acknowledges -- they are also called espoused beliefs. However, there's often a gap between the beliefs and values a leader espouses and their behavior. There's often some inconsistency as also occurs with people in non-leadership positions. People often do things that conflict with the values they claim they have.

Conflict between espoused public views and leadership behavior is problematic because it makes it appear that the leader is not being honest about his or her beliefs.

Then there are implicit beliefs. This are beliefs and values that are what the person "really" believes in, but may not be completely available to the person him or herself. They operate with less conscious attention, and tend to be more consistently linked to behavior.

Finally there are beliefs in action. One of the best ways to learn about one's beliefs and values is to look at behavior, and infer that if one acts in a certain way (particularly in a consistent fashion) then the person has beliefs that cause that behavior.

The important thing here for leaders is to try to make these three types of beliefs consistent with one another, or to bring them all in line. This takes conscious effort and working towards increased self-awareness.