Lead Others by Living Your Values

A recent study of 170 managers and executives found that the topic of values in organizations was considered important by 86 percent of the survey participants. 90 percent of participants said that the leader’s values were very important or extremely important in shaping the organizational culture. Simply stated, the values of your organization and you as a leader are of extremely high importance to your team members. Former G.E. CEO Jack Welch used to say that he preached the mission, vision and values of the organization on a daily basis. He encourages leaders to “take the values plaque off the wall.” In other words, don’t allow your values to be empty statements that take up space in your latest strategic planning document. You have to live them. I believe the same holds true for each of us as individual leaders. Our stated values don’t mean much until we put them into action every day of our lives. Are you LIVING your values? In my previous post, I encouraged you to develop your own values assessment. List your top 12-15 values and then identify the top three. Look them over and give yourself an honest grade for how you feel you are doing in living out those values. With a little dose of courage, you may want to ask others on your team how they think you fare. Compare their grades with how you scored yourself. The next step would be developing an action strategy for doing a better job of living out specific values. For example, if you identified self-accountability as one of your top values and your survey score rated you a “3” on a 1-5 scale, ask yourself, what specifically should I do to boost my score to a “4” or a “5?” Finally, compare your personal career values to those of your organization. Are they compatible? Where are the gaps? What might need to change in your own career values and/or those of your organization? How can you help make those changes happen? Those around you will notice your values in action, including your team members and customers. Perhaps the greatest contribution you can make to your own career, the development of those around you and the growth of your organization might be by choosing to live your values every day.