We all have values that impact every area of life. Some of us a better at segmenting them one from another than others are. Although I’m not so sure that if you can segment it that it is a “real” value. Our values stem from different things such as our environment, religion, friends, family, and other factors. Since our team is made up of different people it would be safe to assume that each person has at least a couple of values that are different from other team members. They may be minor but they are still differences that impact how that person views things.
Hopefully as a team we have a shared set of values that we try to align to that help us in reaching our goals. Then of course there are the values of the company that we work for and depending on how large the company is you may be part of a larger team that has their own set of values. Now in a perfect world all of these would line up and there would be no discrepancy from team to team and from team to company. We know that this isn’t the case most of the time. Not because they don’t try but because no matter what is written down on paper there is the human factor that comes into play that causes a disconnect.
On a team level the different values of each team member impacts how they conform to the stated values of the team and thus how the team values align to the company values. To counter the potential negative impact of this there needs to be an understanding of what our team values look like and how they are expressed. The danger in not doing this is that we risk asking people to compromise their values or the teams values compromise the values of the business. For example if your company has a stated value that they will conduct themselves with integrity then there needs to be an understanding of what integrity looks like. Unfortunately many times each of us has a different idea of what it means to act with integrity. So a definition or understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable needs to be agreed upon and communicated. There is room for some flexibility in how as a team we live out our values as long as they are understood by all and are not unreasonable. This allows for everyone to work in an environment that they are comfortable with and if they discover that they aren’t comfortable for some reason that can make the decision to make a change.
Understanding your values and your team members values also helps you in knowing how to work with each other in ways that fosters the best environment for getting things done in the best and most efficient and effective way. As a leader it also helps you to understand that often it’s best to not try to lead everyone in the same way. This will expand your growth opportunities as you stretch yourself to lead each person in the best way and it will help them to develop themselves in a more constructive way.
The John Maxwell Team has a exercise that they take clients through called “The Values Cards Exercise” I recommend reading this post on it and then taking your team through it yourself. They have a list of questions that you can use to help you get value out of it and I’ve got a few of my own that I’ve added below.
Choose your top 5 values from the list.
Look at them and compare them to how you have been conducting yourself at work.
What changes do you need to make to align your values with your actions?
How do they line up with any team or company values that you are aware of?
How do they compare with the values of your other team members?
Think about how your values impact how you interact with team members, especially those who have values that may be different from yours.
Can you make changes that would be beneficial to you and the team without compromising any of your core values?
Accountable, Diversity, Independence, Simplicity, Achievement, Effectiveness, Integrity, Status, Authority, Efficiency, Knowledge, Structure, Balance, Fairness, Legacy, Teamwork, Change, Faith, Loyalty, Trust, Commitment, Family, Wealth, Urgency, Competence, Fitness, Passion, Service, Courage, Fun, Perfection, Wisdom, Innovation, Growth, Quality, Honesty, Recognition, Customer Satisfaction
As I worked through this I found that it was difficult to narrow the list down to just five. You don’t have to if you don’t want to but I looked at the total list of those that I considered to be my values and then chose the 5 that I felt incorporated all of them. For example I feel that the value Integrity encompasses “Honesty, Accountable, Fairness, Loyalty, Trust, and Commitment” so I chose Integrity over them. Below are my top 5.
Integrity, Faith, Family, Service, Wisdom
I’d love to know what your list is so if you are so inclined leave them in the comment section.