The Values Lens Of Leadership

Dare-to-Serve Reflection: If you knew the top-priority values of the people on your team, how would you lead more effectively?

We have been talking about the importance of knowing the people we lead. This week we continue this conversation by exploring the benefit of knowing the top priority values of your individual team members.

At Popeyes, we ask our team members to explore their values and share their top three priority values with their supervisor and their peers. When we started this activity in our Journey to Purpose class, I thought of it primarily as another way to get to know people. Sharing values would remind each of us what we care most about – and help others understand us better. And in fact, that has happened. But as a leader, knowing the values of my team has been far more valuable than that one-time sharing experience.

As your leader, when I know your top three values, I can adjust my behaviors to give you more of what you want and need in the workplace – creating better conditions for you to perform your best work. Let me share just a few examples:

If SECURITY is important to you, I can do these things:

  • Provide more frequent updates on your performance and/or your compensation
  • Proceed slowly when talking about major changes to your role and responsibilities
  • Share long term perspective for short term decisions to give you context
  • Ask you if there is anything impacting your need to feel secure at work

If COMMUNITY is important to you, I can do these things:

  • Assign you to group project work, where you can bond with a team
  • Offer you a chance to coordinate a company picnic or holiday event
  • Seek your advice about how we strengthen the community at work
  • Be attentive to situations where you are working solo, and may get discouraged
  • Ask you if you see an opportunity to strengthen your community at work.

If LEARNING is important to you, I can do these things:

  • Offer you a new book to read about a skill you are learning
  • Suggest that you lead a workshop, where you can teach skills
  • Challenge you to take on a new project out of your comfort zone
  • Ask you if you are feeling challenged in your work

If ACHIEVEMENT is important to you, I can do these things:

  • Assign clear goals for each project so that you can see progress
  • Share perspective often on where you stand from my viewpoint
  • Encourage you to take on very measurable assignments
  • Ask you about your most recent achievement at work, or in life

If LEGACY is important to you, I can do these things:

  • Explore what you want to be known and remembered for
  • Ask you often about those things
  • Suggest ways you could leave a legacy in the lives of others
  • Ask you what you are working on that will leave a legacy

Many of you may have been exposed to a concept called situational leadership. It was first introduced by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in their book Management of Organizational Behavior. This approach suggests that I can adjust my leadership in a situation – to better set up the individual or the team for success. If I know and understand both you and the situation, I can adjust my own behaviors to help you perform.

The same is true with knowing your values. If I know them, I can help you focus on them, contribute them to the enterprise, and celebrate the way you bring them to the organization. When your values are reinforced at work, you feel more engaged in the activities of the team. You experience more satisfaction and reward.

Why is it then that we so infrequently talk about values at work – the things that are most important to each of us? What would happen if we did?

Before your next team meeting, ask your people to do the values exercise using “Journey to Personal Purpose” in the resource section of SERVING PERFORMS: Or you can purchase a deck of values cards for each person at John Maxwell’s site:

Then at the team meeting, share just one important value with each other. As the leader, jot down the values of your team, so that you can adjust your leadership to foster an environment that brings out their best. And helps them connect and align with the values of the organization.

Knowing your people well tells them that you care deeply about them. Start today, creating the conditions for people to perform their best work.


As a leader, do you know the top three values of your people?

Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

About Cheryl Bachelder

Cheryl is a passionate restaurant industry leader who serves as CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., a publicly traded global chain of 2300+ restaurants. Cheryl is known for reinvigorating great brands and inspiring leaders to reach their full potential – with exceptional performance results. She has enjoyed a rewarding career working at Procter & Gamble, Gillette, Nabisco, Domino’s Pizza and Yum brands. Cheryl and her husband Chris have been married thirty three years and are parents to three adult daughters   »  Learn More

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