Paul Larsen, in his book, Find Your Voice As A Leader, (Aviva Publishing, 2016) recognizes that because we set our personal standards with our values, they serve as gauges or barometers for the important things in our lives. Values are barometers.
You see, your sense of success is based on how well you feel you’re upholding your values. For example, if relationships are a high value, you can assess how many new ones you made, or how many struggling ones you mended. If you value humility, you can judge how well you allowed others to be lifted up and recognized.
As a leader, your satisfaction or fulfillment can be gauged by your values of serving or hard work. You are rewarded with great feelings and a sense of worth when your values lead you to make a positive impact in these areas.
A high value of optimism or excellence can impact your emotional level or state of energy. Similarly, a high value of loyalty or commitment impacts your perception and approach to challenges, endurance, and perseverance.
Values As Warnings
Larsen also sites that leaders whose roles are misaligned with their values experience inner conflict, stress, or frustration. You may be a leader facing hardships without recognizing the reasons. An inner look at your values may reveal some contradictions in your business life that need to be addressed.
If you value transparency and you are required to be vague in dealing with difficult issues with your people, you will be torn inside. Your emotions and spirit will suffer by going down a contrary path.
If you value excellence, you will be discouraged and defeated if the pressures of your environment force your people to submit substandard work. Your inner-self is in conflict with your actions.
If you value relationships, you will be distressed if your workload doesn’t permit you to engage your people in ways that allow you to know them. You’ll sense an emptiness inside that won’t go away.
An area that is often a source of conflict in leadership is faith. Many leaders have not done the work to understand their values and the workplace. Often leaders seek black and white value alignment when in reality there are many shades of gray that require thinking and prayer, even as a strong believer.
Look for the warning signs. I see this in the clients I coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) whose responses to situations, confidence, positivity, and quality of relationships are affected by actions that contradict values. This is another reason why assessing your values is so critical. Allow a coach or mentor take you through the process of identifying those ideals that you strongly believe in.
Assess your job, your work and your relationship paths to see where you fit and where you don’t. Make changes before a value-action misalignment takes you further down a painful path. No one benefits if you are in conflict with your values.
What do you think? What do your barometers tell you about your values? How are your actions aligned with your values? I’d love to hear from you.
I am Marc Ottestad – leadership coaching on faith- focus and freedom for Christian Business Owners.
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