Values act as a lens through which we interpret the world, and if you are a leader, they interpret how you judge those you lead.
Your values will influence your decisions about people; who you promote and the kinds of activities you believe are worthy of your time.
Despite this importance, few leaders choose to understand and shape their values. Instead, they allow them to sit in the background, unannounced, unseen, making judgements and colouring their decisions.
Values are established early in life; how your parents interacted with you, the rewards you received from the people in your social circle and how you achieved success.
Most people simply adopt the values of their parents and the dominant values of the society they grew up in. The values that you built as a child remain with you in adult life. Some may serve you well, while others – not so much.
As a leader, it is important that you understand values; yours and those of your team members, because the behaviours you see in your team are products of how values interact.
To create a symphonic leadership team, you must start by exploring the values held by everyone on your team.
Start with yourself:
- What words describe your values?
- What beliefs are linked to each value?
- What behaviours demonstrate your values?
For example, a leader who values Creativity believes that ideas can solve any problem, and often uses workshops and open-ended conversations to find solutions. (UNICORNS)
In contrast, a leader who values Control believes that structure provides the foundation for success and often uses systems and processes to create solutions. (EAGLES)
A leader who values Collaboration believes that teams are the best way to find solutions and will put teams together to resolve problems, creating flexible organisations with loose reporting lines. (DOLPHINS)
Whereas a leader who values Competition believes in getting things done and uses goals and deadlines to drive performance. (TIGERS)
You can use this link to discover your dominant value. http://apps.makinggreatleaders.com/cvf/index/duet
Once you have discovered your values, help your team members do the same. Then have each person share their values and ask their teammates to listen and look for the obvious common values – these provide a foundation for trust.
Once the team understand where they naturally connect, they can work to mine the differences. When opposite values exist, so does the possibility for innovation.
Looking at problems through different lenses gives the team a more holistic understanding of complex problems and usually leads to better solutions.
What are YOU doing to improve the culture inside your team?