What is most important to you? Your values will determine how you answer this question. Our values drive what we stand for. Your values are your North Star.
The North Star has been used for navigation for centuries. Acting as a guiding light, people use their brightness and prominence in the sky to ensure they are traveling in the right direction. Just as the North Star guided explorers for centuries, our values guide our behaviors, decisions, and actions.
Values are not found or contrived. They develop in early childhood and continue to evolve throughout your life. Personal values appear innate, and perhaps some are. However, a new study finds that values are transmitted to children not only from the way parents act but also partially through their genes.
I can buy into this theory based on the behaviors I’ve witnessed in children, but my belief in the theory waivers based on apparent value differences between close sibling adults.
However values are formed; they cannot be denied. Our values drive what we stand for – behaviors, decisions, and actions.
Have you thought about your values? Do you know what they are?
There are hundreds of values to consider:
As a leader, it is powerfully relevant to understand your values as they apply to your career, your employer‘s decisions, and your leadership style.
Let’s explore deeper.
Do you know your core values? Are your values aligned to your career role? Sometimes the answers appear easy enough on the surface. However, if you find the courage to look below the surface, you may find clues that surprise you.
Come with me, and I will show you the power of digging in deeper.
I’ve always known that truth and teamwork are two of my core values, and I revel in negotiating conflict. I have a high tolerance for differences in perspective and have no understanding or patience for bullies or what I see as unfair treatment of others. I’ve learned through various personality tests that I have a weakness that shows up as a need to assume responsibility for others. What I could not see from these tests was how these values showed up in my career or leadership style.
Instead of guessing, I used the tools available to me (no cost CVI assessment tools). There are many no cost CVI assessment options available via a simple search. As I don’t want to appear to endorse any, I will share my personal results after exercising three different CVI assessor tools.
Here is what my assessment report said about me:
“What does this mean? This means your primary core value is Merchant – A Merchant’s core value energy is Love. Love, in this sense, is working toward an inspired vision of what can be, by nurturing the core values in one’s self and others. You thrive at building relationships and providing an inspired vision for those around you. Your secondary core value is Innovator – An Innovator’s core value energy is Wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to see the way things are and discern what to do about it. You accurately assess situations and provide solutions.”
I was a bit taken aback that Love showed up at the top of my core values. After reading the explanation, it was easy to see alignment with my Myers-Briggs personality type of ENFP. At the same time, I can now see why I was never quite comfortable in my IT leadership skin for 40 years and why coaching feels so right. My work is aligned with my core values. Everyone deserves their career to be in alignment with their core values.
Your Employment Choices
The culture of a company is an aggregate view of its leaders’ values, starting with the CEO and the executive team. Before applying for (certainly before accepting) a new role, you are most wise to research the values against the behaviors of the organization’s leadership. Reach out to your network to obtain an introduction to people who work there. You can reduce the awkwardness of an inquiry by simply asking, “I see your company website lists “INSERT VALUE HERE.” How does this value show up at COMPANY? “
However, you choose to research; you will be taking a risk if you make assumptions and jump at a significant role without research. As lessons in life tend to go, I have learned this through experience.
If your core value is Love and your direct manager is a Banker, what challenges might your relationship face? You can use this same thought pattern with your MBTI, DISC, Colors, or any of the behavioral/communication assessments. Opposites do not attract. Think about a time when you were in complete alignment with a manager – and then contrast that feeling where nothing you did seemed reasonable enough, where you dreaded coming to work, maybe even to the point of developing a genuine illness.
Opposites require modifying your style and communication approach. Small gaps in values are typically manageable. Managing significant differences in style can be accomplished if there are shared values and mutual respect. Sans common values and mutual respect, a considerable gap in costs will prove intolerable. Would it not be better to understand the situation and options while you are in control of your choices? I, like many people of applied wisdom (aka many life challenges), learned this lesson the hard way.
If you follow my theory that values evolve with experience, you can agree that as a leader, you influence developing your team member‘s benefits. Their observation of your behavior should not disrupt their core values but is an excellent opportunity to evolve them. If you lead with integrity, they will learn to act with integrity, or they won’t be on your team.
When you lead with consideration for the needs of the individual, they will follow your example. If you treat others with disrespect or fear, so will they, and they will leave.
The role of a manager is not for the meek or weak of heart. It carries a responsibility to your organization, its customers, and your team. The good news is that when you take care of your team, they take care of you.
Building Your Team Values
Just as the company value is an aggregate of those of its leadership, so are the values of your team. As mentioned in the article, Designing Your Leadership Vision a great team–building exercise is to bring your team together to build your Mission, Vision, and Values. The first step in defining the team values is to identify the core values of each team leader. It will be essential to express the individual values in the form of behavioral examples and to determine their tolerances and intolerances against their values. If it sounds like an in-depth discussion, it is. As a leader you will be challenged to listen without judgment as there are no right or wrong answers. At the same time, it is an incredible honor to help your employees grow as individuals and as a team! It is and always will be my favorite part of management.
YOU GOT THIS!
In closing, I hope our conversation on values resonates in some way with you. I have confidence that you know the answers inside of yourself. If you need a little help seeking them out, give me a call. I am here for you.
We will continue next week with demonstrating the power of leadership in building the vision and values of your organization.
Until next week!
Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com – an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry.