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Are You a Role-Model Leader?

Role-Model Leaders showing a diverse group of women and men.
Credit: pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/Shutterstock, Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock, El Nariz/Shutterstock, Flamingo Images/Shutterstock

What are the key attributes and behaviors for a role-model, visionary leader?

The attributes and behaviors below are based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework Core Values and Concepts.

  • How does your leadership team perform relative to these attributes and behaviors? 
  • Do the members of the team complement each other’s abilities, so that all the appropriate attributes are covered? 
  • Do your team members collaborate to make sure that employees, customers, and partners are treated fairly, respecting their diversity, and with respect?

With your leadership team, use the attributes and behaviors listed below to identify collective strengths and opportunities for improvement. Your leadership team will be strengthened as a result, and your people will benefit from the outcome.

Visionary Leadership 

  1. Leads the organization in setting and owning organizational vision and values
  2. Guides the creation of strategies, systems, and methods to ensure ongoing organizational success
  3. Inspires the organization and partners to achieve high performance 
  4. Demonstrates authenticity, admitting to missteps and opportunities for improvement

Systems Perspective

  1. Sets a systems perspective across the organization so that the organization and all its parts are viewed as a whole
  2. Causes holistic thinking and cross-functional synthesis, alignment, and integration
  3. Requires a focus on strategic direction and results to improve overall performance
  4. Leads with recognition of a larger, interconnected ecosystem (partners, suppliers, customers, communities) in which the organization operates and has opportunities for innovation

Customer-Focused Excellence

  1. Builds a customer-focused culture and integrates customer engagement and loyalty as a strategic concept
  2. Creates a focus on anticipating changing and emerging customer and market requirements
  3. Ensures differentiation from competitors through the development of innovative offerings and unique relationships 

Valuing People 

  1. Builds and reinforces an organizational culture that focuses on meaningful work, engagement, accountability, development, and well-being of workforce members 
  2. Creates an organizational environment that is safe, trusting, and cooperative
  3. Builds partnerships with internal and external people and stakeholder groups
  4. Builds a culture of equity and inclusion that capitalizes on the diversity of the workforce, partners, and collaborators

Agility and Resilience

  1. Develops a capacity for rapid change and for flexibility in operations
  2. Anticipates and recovers from emergencies and other disruptions to protect and enhance organizational performance and key stakeholder and community well-being.
  3. Leads and inspires the organization to manage risk and make transformational changes despite ever-shorter cycle times
  4. Anticipates opportunities and threats and adapts strategy internally and through the organization’s business ecosystem

Organizational Learning

  1. Creates an empowered and cross-trained workforce that effectively develops and uses evolving organizational knowledge
  2. Embeds systematic learning in the way the organization operates
  3. Improves the organization through innovation and adoption of best practices

Focus on Success and Innovation

  1. Creates a focus on short- and longer-term factors that affect the organization and its future marketplace success, including managing uncertainty and risk and adjusting to a changing technological and economic environment 
  2. Accomplishes strategic succession planning for leaders and workforce
  3. Builds an environment where strategic opportunities are identified, and the    workforce is supported to take intelligent risks
  4. Fosters collaborative thinking among people who do not normally work together, including members of the organization’s business ecosystem

Management by Fact

  1. Compels the organization to measure performance both inside the organization and in its competitive environment
  2. Uses data and analysis in operational and strategic decision making.
  3. Challenges the organization to extract larger meaning from data and information to support improvement and innovation

Societal Contributions  

  1. Acts as a role model for public responsibility and actions leading to societal well-being and benefit
  2. Motivates the organization to excel beyond minimal compliance with laws and regulations
  3. Drives environmental, social, and economic betterment of the community as a personal and organizational goal

Ethics and Transparency

  1. Exhibits and requires highly ethical behavior in all organizational activities and interactions
  2. Leads with transparency through open communication of clear and accurate information 
  3. Builds trust in the organization and its leaders

Delivering Value and Results

  1. Leads the organization to achieve excellent performance results
  2. Defines and drives the organization to exceed stakeholder requirements and achieve value for all stakeholders 
  3. Selects a composite of measures that include, financial, product and process, customer, workforce, leadership, strategy, and societal performance

More on Leadership

Culture and Strategy Eat All Three Meals—When Leaders Set the Menu
Eight Blogs about Leadership (and the Baldrige Excellence Framework)
What Is a Leader to Do?
Top Tips for Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders
A Systems Perspective to Leadership and Strategy
Innovative Leadership Behaviors, Customized for You


Baldrige Executive Fellows Program
Purchase Baldrige Excellence Framework Business/Nonprofit, Education, Health Care
About the Baldrige Excellence Framework
Baldrige Excellence Builder
Baldrige Impacts
Baldrige Key Terms
The Baldrige Criteria 101 Word

Related Links

Board of Director Responsibilities: A Baldrige Core Values Perspective
How Baldrige Works
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Baldrige Award
Baldrige Award Recipient Listing
Baldrige FAQs


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    (301) 975-2036
    100 Bureau Drive, M/S 1020
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020
Created August 14, 2019, Updated February 4, 2021