What sets you apart as a leader?
Do you know what makes you unique?
The first step to finding this out involves taking a closer look at what drives you – in other words, identifying your core values.
You may have heard this term before but not know what it actually means or why it’s important.
Simply put, your core values are principles by which you need to live to be happy. Your values represent the centre of who you are as a leader. They define your boundaries of what you will and won’t do. When you do not live by your values, this can feel very uncomfortable and lead to a variety of emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment and confusion, especially if you are not sure where it’s coming from.
When you can be clear on your values, they become your moral compass and guide your decision-making, helping you to live authentically and be the person you want to be.
So how do you find out what your values are?
In my programme, Find Your Leader Within, we work on your values in detail but in essence, it’s thinking about times in your life where you have experienced contentment as well as discomfort. It’s about reflecting on those times and pinpointing what emotions came up, what aspects of the experience made them a positive or negative one and labelling them. You can also think about what your perfect day looks like.
For example, a client I worked with recently, described their perfect day as one that would involve waking up with their family and people they love. They would take time to walk outside, be by the sea, close to nature and have long conversations about a wide variety of topics. There are some great clues to this person’s values: family, nature, curiosity and rapport.
Here are some prompts to get you thinking:
• What makes you happy?
• What energises you?
• If you were to live your perfect day, what would it look like?
• What is truly important to you?
• What makes you angry or upset? (This can be a sign that a key value is not being met)
• Whom do you admire? Why?
• What behaviours do you feel a strong aversion to? Why? (This could represent a values clash)
• Who are your most important mentors, role models or guides? Which values do they embody?
You can use a free online tool to help.
Once we understand our core values and what really makes us tick, we’re going to be happier people and more principled leaders.
Not only this but the values you display as a leader will filter through to your whole team impacting performance, trust and success.
“When you are led by values, it doesn’t cost your business, it helps your business.” — Jerry Greenfield
What is values-led leadership?
Values-led or values-based leadership is a leadership style whereby leaders draw on their own and teams’ values for direction, inspiration, and motivation. It uses the notion that values are natural motivators for everyone therefore when we feel aligned with our values, we are more likely to make positive choices.
Leaders who know their values and adhere to them build trust, respect, and credibility with those around them. Particularly in times of challenge or crisis, leaders who do not veer off course or compromise on their values maintain their integrity and feel comfortable with the choice they make. Value-lead leadership not only motivates others to follow them but can also inspire others to adopt their values as their own.
It’s therefore important to weave your core values into every process in your organisation from the hiring process to exit interviews to bring employees together around a common purpose and create a more positive organisational culture.
What are the benefits?
1. Better decision-making – when leaders are aware and operate from a clear set of values, they can make better choices. They will also be more comfortable acting on them as well as others.
2. Build more trusting relationships – when you are clear about your values and live by them, you can build trust with those around you and earn respect as a leader. Trust creates a more positive working environment and without it, communication will be difficult.
3. Attract the right people – when values-led leadership is embedded into an organisation, it means you’ll attract the right employees who will be motivated and committed to the organisation and aligned with your vision and ultimately contribute to your success. It also means you’re able to retain your top talent and save on the cost of recruiting and retraining.
4. Feel aligned with your ‘authentic self’ – being aware of your purpose or true north and living by your values will result in you feeling happier, more confident, and more fulfilled as a leader.
It’s exactly why I’ve developed my Find Your Leader Within leadership programme to help organisations shape their leaders. It not only builds a positive organisational culture, led by values, but it also produces a cohort of talented, inspirational leaders who are ‘promotion ready’ and able to achieve optimal performance.
If you’d like to find out more about embedding values-led leadership in your organisation, book a call with me here.