The Oxford dictionary describes values as principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life. Similar to principles, ethics, morals. It goes on to define behaviour as the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others. Similar to conduct, actions, habits.
Put simply, values are aspirational, what we think we and others should exhibit. They are a measure of intent. On the other hand, behaviours are our actions, what we actually exhibit and/or what others see.
I remember hearing once that “We judge ourselves by our intentions, but other people by their actions.” As much as I hate to admit it, I have seen many people—including yours truly—do this.
Living inside our own skin gives us such a skewed view on the world. We see everything through the lens of what we were trying to do, and not through the lens of what we actually did. That way, if things don’t work out quite right, we can avoid the unpleasantness of failure by retreating to our good intentions.
What does that mean for leaders?
According to Wikipedia, value denotes the degree of importance of some thing or action, with the aim of determining what actions are best to do or what way is best to live, or to describe the significance of different actions.
Our values are overarching principles and motivators for what we do. They shape our world view, motivate our habits and determine how we spend our time
Unfortunately many leaders are unable to define their own personal values. While these leaders have values that direct their actions, they cannot articulate what these values are and therefore they struggle to make value-based decisions or exhibit intentional value-based behaviours.
In order to grow and develop as true leaders, we must identify and articulate our values – not only for ourselves but for the benefit of those we seek to lead. Once articulated, the challenge then is to act according to those values, to behave as intended. I believe that only then can we truly hope to lead with integrity. https://mitchell.news/2020/04/04/leading-with-integrity/
As leaders, we ought to have a deep understanding not only of our own values but the values of the organisations we lead. We must also come to an awareness of how our leadership will support, develop or undermine others.
Here’s an idea….
I was talking to a coaching client recently, and what became obvious was the potential disconnect between her own values, those of the organisation she works for and more particularly some of the people in her team. We discussed the option of bringing these values together in the form of some sort of “social contract” where each party gets to input their values and for them to come up with an agreed set of values and related behaviours. I am still to hear how she goes implementing the idea……..
LeaderImpact groups are made up of leaders looking to integrate their personal, professional and spiritual lives. Core to the group is supporting each other in articulating core values in each of these areas. If you’re interested in finding out more or would like to join a group, check out leaderimpact.com or contact me.