In my last blog post I helped you identify and define your three most important personal values. Now that you know what your values are, it is time to focus on how your values influence your decision-making and ways you can use values to become stronger as a leader.
What have you already noticed about how your values impact your life? Can you see how your values have influenced the type of work you do and the people you choose to be your friends? Have you noticed areas of your life where your values are missing?
Your values are either present or absent in the choices you make every day. And whether you realize it or not, your values influence your behavior. When people make decisions that are aligned with their values, they are happier and more successful. However, when people make choices that go against their values, they experience dissatisfaction and confusion in their lives.
How often do your ask yourself whether the decisions you make are aligned with your values?
Values help us determine the “rightness” of our choices. They also help us realize when we are making choices that might not be right for us. A decision made that is aligned with your values will always be the more fulfilling decision. If you intentionally consider your values when making decisions, your values can help you determine whether or not you are making a choice that is good for you.
Of course, sometimes we make decisions that go against our values without realizing it. Have you ever been pushed to make a decision by someone else, or have you ever made a career choice based on money? Have you ever been afraid to try something that you really thought was the right thing for you to do? When you make choices based on external factors rather than your values, you risk creating dissonance in your life. You have to determine whether the outcomes of your choice will outweigh the consequences. They rarely do.
Now that you know how important values are in the choices you make, you can begin to engage in values-based decision-making. Whenever you are faced with a potentially life-changing decision, you should ask yourself the following two questions:
1) Will my choice move me closer to living my values?
2) Which of my values will be present if I take this course of action?
Your responses to these questions will help you make decisions that are conscious of your values and the role they play in your life.
Because values influence our decision-making, they also influence how we work with others.
Good leaders know their values and make decisions that are aligned with their values. They also understand and respect the values of other people.
Have you ever had trouble working with a group of people on a project? Or is there someone in particular at your job you find challenging to work with? There’s a good chance that the reason is a difference in personal values. We can experience conflict with others who have different values because they approach decision-making from a different perspective than us. Because our values are such a fundamental part of who we are, we can find it difficult to relate to people who have dissimilar values.
The good news is that you can use your knowledge of values to become more effective in leading others.
Here are some tips for leading others using values:
- Share your values with the people around you. This will help others understand what motivates you and set the foundation for an authentic relationship.
- Strive to learn and understand the values of the people you work with. By doing this you will gain greater insight into who they are, strengthening your relationship with them and reducing the chance of future conflict.
- When working on a project with others, try to help them understand how their values are connected to the work they are doing. Because people are more motivated to do something when the feel their values will be met, this will create greater buy-in to the project.
- Make sure you model values-based decision-making in your own life. This behavior encourages others to respect and trust you.
Jene Kapela, Ed.D.
You can contact Jene at firstname.lastname@example.org.