Values Based Leadership

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Our core values matter now more than ever.  Before the experience of COVID, corporate values was an ignored plaque on the wall.  Corporate values joined the ranks of phrases like accountability, KPIs and socializing an idea.  Today, your core values must guide your decisions, performance and even your next career move.  A value is also a guiding principle.  Your values come from the influential people in your life and from your story.

Values based behavior is about the decisions and actions that you choose regardless of the underlying emotions that you feel.  It is choosing to make the additional phone call or send that final email, even if you are feeling tired or sad. The greatest performers find a way to connect their values to their performance activities.

In the book “The Psychology of Enhancing Human Performance – The Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment Approach” the authors describe a process to assist us in obtaining outcomes that are driven by our core values.

The first step in the process is mindfulness.  Mindfulness is being present.  Mindfulness involves observing the current moment, which includes the situation, the emotions and your physical response without judgement.  It involves experiencing the moment vs. interpreting the moment.

Acceptance is allowing the moment or situation to exist.  Many times we find ourselves pushing the unpleasant feelings away.  Currently, I am experiencing some sadness with the absence of my daughters at home.  With this example, the acceptance approach would mean to allow the emotions to exist. Most of the pain in our lives comes from unmet and / or unrealistic expectations.  A good starting point would be to identify your expectations throughout the day.

Commitment is about taking action in the midst of these emotions.  Consider making decisions based on your core values. One of my values is learning.  When I consider a project or client coaching opportunity, I ask myself, how will this experience allow me to learn or grow?  If I see that the project will lead me toward this goal, I will take on the project.

This process begins with you clarifying and defining your core values.   There are several values assessments online.  The important questions to ask is “Where do these values come from?” “Who helped shaped my values?” From there, it is important to solidify and define your values.  I value enthusiasm, learning and partnership.  These values guide decisions, projects and my life.

What are your values and how do they guide your leadership?  Leading with your values at the center keep you from leading based on the ’emotion of the day.’