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The Values Lens Of Leadership

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: cherylbachelder.com. Or you can purchase a deck of values cards for each person at John Maxwell’s site: www.johnmaxwell.com.

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.


0 Responses

  1. Cheryl, I have certainly been enjoying the 40 week challenge and appreciate all of the insights, articles, and activities. When leaders align with their teams top core values the is an additional benefit for the leader too. The leader also recognizes their own (values)and is better equiped to balance their priorities and gain additional satisfaction right alongside their teams. Sometimes the toughest thing for a leader to overcome is the fact that everybody that works for them (or the organization) is NOT just like them. Sometimes that can be frustrating, especially when VALUES, STRENGTHS, LEARNING STYLES, and DRIVERS are different from their own. A true leader not only understands themselves and what’s at their core but truly understands, recognizes, and enhances those qualities in their teams. A leaders ultimate goal is to motivate, lead and coach their people to the next level of performance. The team wants and deserves a leader who will inspire and empower them to meet and exceed important goals and initiatives.

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