Inspirational Leadership – What Values Will We Embody?

IN a recent post (21 March 2009) in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman writes about his concern that we don’t have any “adults in charge” – and that as a result, “politics worse than usual” prevail.

Mr. Friedman said, “Inspiring conduct has so much more of an impact than coercing it.”  …
He goes on in one paragraph to quote Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, on what it might look like to actually have leaders behaving like leaders – and engaging citizens, stakeholders (and now, yes, SHAREHOLDERS) around those values, motivations and principles that draw us forward – the greater values we hold in common.

“There is nothing more powerful than inspirational leadership that unleashes principled behavior for a great cause…  What makes a company or a government “sustainable” is not when it adds more coercive rules and regulations to control behaviors.  It is when its employees or citizens are propelled by values and principles to do the right things, no matter how difficult the situation.  Laws tell you what you can do. Values inspire in you what you should do. It’s a leader’s job to inspire in us those values.”

What are the best examples of inspiring leadership – in your home, organization, or nation – that have propelled you to virtuous action?

Who has been the best example of this kind of leader for you?