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How to Leverage Your Values in the Workplace

How to Leverage Your Values in the Workplace

Values in the workplace. Is there even a place for them?

After all, isn’t one of the keys to effective management to be open-minded and respect the values in others?

Yes. Absolutely. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to let your own values fall by the wayside.

A Tremendous Asset

Often, leaders mistakenly think that they must bury their own values and focus solely on those of the company or their coworkers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, it’s your values as an individual that will draw people to you! Some leaders value action and achievement, while others value relationships and feelings. Still others pride themselves on thoroughness and detail. Each of these is relevant to your leadership style and will affect how you guide your team.

When leveraged properly, values can be a tremendous asset. Here’s the key to leveraging your values in the workplace: use what’s important to you to lead your team. But, always remember that many of your employees will fall into a different camp. The things you deem important will mean nothing to them unless you explain why. And, you will need to make time to understand their values and incorporate them with empathy, patience, and consideration.

Leveraging Your Values

Here’s one way to get started:

Start by identifying your primary value. Is it accomplishment, relationship, or attention to detail?

Identify your secondary value. Which of these three is next most important to you?

Determine the primary and secondary values of your team members. This may take some time, and you may even want to conduct a team-building exercise to figure it out.

Analyze the values of yourself and your team members. This is a great group activity. You will see that while you are all different, you definitely have some common ground.

Develop a plan for leading your team based on your own values.

Action Plans

Let’s take a look at some action plans:

If you value accomplishment:

Start by communicating why your team’s accomplishments are important. How are their actions affecting the company? How are they making a difference in the community? What impact will their work leave on the world?

Then, begin tracking the accomplishments of your team. Create charts, spreadsheets, or other visual tools that will help them see the positive results of their actions.

Finally, schedule regular check-ins to show your team how far they’ve come and let them know how their actions are making a difference.

A word of caution for the action-oriented: be careful not to push too hard, especially at first. Too much focus on accomplishment can cause some individuals to disengage. Start slow and keep it positive. If your team is off track and you need to create a plan to move forward, do it firmly but gently. Keep in mind that achievement may not be some people’s primary driver, so be respectful of your differences.

If you value relationships:

Create regular opportunities for your employees to connect on a personal level. This may involve team outings or other fun activities (bowling, anyone?).

Use those times to create a team mentality, where everyone knows they are a valued member who is contributing to an overall mission. Publicly recognize the strengths and contributions of each person toward making your team and company successful. If you look hard enough, you will be able to identify ways that each person uniquely contributes on a regular basis.

A word of caution for the relationship-focused: be careful not to get too “mushy” or “sappy” in your recognition, as this will make some employees run for the hills. Stick to the facts and focus on creating meaningful connections.

If you value thoroughness and detail:

If your staff members aren’t detail-oriented, it may be hard for them to understand why this matters. Start by helping them see how their focus on the small things makes the organization successful. Show them examples of times when the details have made all the difference.

Then, explain exactly what you need from them—and encourage them when they do it! Watch for successes and share them with the staff as a whole.

A note of caution for the detail-oriented: be careful not to lose sight of the big picture. Too much focus on detail can cause big-picture thinkers to disengage. It will take time for your team to learn and apply the level of detail that you require on a regular basis. So be patient!

Team Growth

As you start to bring your values into the workplace, you may notice that your staff members start to bring theirs as well. A team member who values relationships may offer to plan a team outing, or a team member who values detail may offer to create a presentation to help others see their contribution. Be sure to encourage them in their endeavors!

As you and your employees leverage your values, you will see tremendous growth within your team!

 

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