Leadership about taking people forward to the desired destination. Unfortunately, it's not a straight line from where we are today to where we want to go. Most leaders zigzag back and forth, from crisis to crisis, putting out a fire here and dealing with an issue there. If you followed behind them, you’d wonder why they seem to wander to and fro so much.
Navigating the zigs and zags of leadership takes some work
Leaders have to decide when to zig and when to zag. They have to know how far to veer to the left and then how far back the other direction they need to go. To manage the endless choices that one has to make, leaders will find it helpful to have guideposts. An essential tools managers can use to navigate along the path towards their vision is to increase their understanding of their own values.
Your deeply held values serve as guideposts
When leaders know what they value, they know what is important to them. It helps them with ethical decisions. Clarity of values gives them a sense of what hill they will put a considerable effort into and which battles to walk away from. Knowing their values gives a leader a navigation tool to direct their way.
Let me give you an example
Imagine that an opportunity arises for two of the stuff to go to a conference. Four of the team members indicate they want to attend.
Values clarity = Emotional clarity
Value identification also helps you to know why you’re feeling the way you are. When you are irritated, annoyed or frustrated, it is usually because something isn’t in line with your values. Emotional turmoil usually means one of your values is being stepped on. If someone tells a white lie and that irks you, it might be that you appreciate honesty. When one of the people in your unit leaves the staff room counters covered in cookie crumbs, and you get annoyed, it’s likely because you value cleanliness and possibly respect. Being able to identify those personal values helps you to have a polite conversation that will allow you to deal skillfully with the situation rather than respond with passive-aggressive sarcasm.
How do you identify your values?
In truth, it often takes some time nail them down entirely. As well, your values do change over time. As a start, though, increasing your awareness around naming values when you experience them yourself or see them in others is helpful. That heightened awareness gives you perspective on what you find significant. Use that attentiveness in you to guide you in the following three activities that will provide you with clarity on your core values.
3 ways to help you identify your values.
Reflect on where you are drawn to spend time, energy and resource in your life.
Take some time to look at your life activities both at work and in your personal experiences.
If you value accuracy, you likely spend a lot of time double checking your work. Perhaps the person next to you values expediency and so get stuff done and moves to the next thing as quick as they can. If you two are working on a project together, your values might clash.
Journal answers to these questions:
3. Narrow it down
Review a list of values and instinctually pick your top ones
Make identifying and clarify your values a top priority
Identifying your values helps you as a leader or manager to make tough decisions as you zigzag forward. Using your values as the guideposts gives you a structure for decision making. Knowing your values also helps you understand why you’re feeling the way you are and gives you words to help sort out conflicts that arise as a result of incongruity. Knowing what’s important to you is a huge part of being an effective leader. Take the time to examine what your core values are that will help guide along the winding path of leadership.
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