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Why Leaders Should Discover Their Values

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What do you stand for?  What do you live by?  What are your values?

Having a confident leadership “voice” is your key to being a successful leader.  You make decisions based on what you value.  From the clients you engage with, to the employees that you hire, your values are reflected in every facet of your leadership style. And your life.

By identifying and living your core values, you lay the foundation for a grounded and confident leadership approach.  Your values encompass your passions, talents and strengths.  By defining your values, you determine what matters most to you.  And you can determine how your values align, (or not), with those of your community and your organization.

Identifying Your Values Builds a Foundation of Trust

In the past, many discussions that centered on leadership were focused on the leaders themselves: their personality traits, their motivation and how to coach and develop those team members with potential.  Recently, this focus has shifted from the personality traits of a leader to their ability to inspire confidence and build a foundation of trust within their team. 

Nothing builds trust more than a leader who lives by their values.  Not everyone may agree with your beliefs or how you put them into practice, but you will garner trust and respect by leading via a consistent and core set of values. 

Your team will have a better appreciation for your decision-making process.  They will understand how you make your decisions and how you communicate your thoughts, insights and feedback.    Think of the leaders that you have had in your life.  Those leaders who lived by an open set of values were consistent in the way that they managed and dealt with people. 

Identifying Your Values Develops Your Credibility

Effective leaders that lead according to their values make an effort to open up and be genuine with their team.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.   By letting your team know who you are and what you value, you can build and evolve that trust and credibility.  Share your values with your team.  Tell them how your values will impact the decisions you make.  Give brief, concrete examples of how your values have guided you in the past, and share your expectations of the team’s performance going forward.

Once you begin sharing what is important to you, you begin to create an environment of engagement, mutual trust and respect.   You do not need to share everything, but by communicating what is significant to you and what you expect of each other, you enable your team to understand your motivation and eliminate mis-interpretations.  This is not about building a team based on “friendships”, it is about building a team of mutual trust, respect and credibility.

Identifying Your Values Provides You with Direction

By identifying your values, you establish a framework by which you make decisions.  In today’s social and digital marketplace, where so many things compete for your attention, being able to prioritize what is important for you to spend your time on is critical.  Values provide you with an inner GPS to make decisions and assess situations, enabling you to effectively prioritize and focus on the issues that matter most.  No matter what role you are playing.

Identifying Your Values Reveals What You Stand For

Self-discovery is an important aspect of effective leadership.  A leader without an identified, clear-cut set of values will be directionless and thus, ineffective.  Sort of like a rudder-less ship…just drifting at sea.   By defining your values, you allow your team members, your clients—and more importantly, you—to know what you stand for.  This enables you to lead from a foundation comprised of integrity, consistency and accountability. 

While we live in a society that makes it tempting to pretend to be someone you are not, this will prevent you from gaining the trust of your team, your organization and your clients.    Your values set you apart from other leaders.  Your values are what make you unique. Discover them. Lead with them.  Own them.

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