For the past few months, I have been working with an executive coach. In one of our sessions we touched on the topic of leadership values and my coach asked me to explore my own values. At first I felt some resistance within myself. I didn’t know where to start and I couldn’t have articulated example leadership values. Let alone coming up with the 5 values that characterize my leadership style and encompass my values.
I ended up pushing myself past my resistance and spent a couple of hours digging through some online resources and filling out various questionnaires that I found. Here are some resources that I played with:
- CMU List of Values (favorite)
- Life Values Inventory
- The Global Goals
- Barrett Values Centre
These exercises all work approximately the same: You go through a list of words / values. You pick the ones that speak to you and you think characterize you best. Then you go through the values and either summarize or group them. In the end you have a set of “words” that should characterize your leadership values. You can obviously go back and forth to massage your list and that’s totally okay.
After going through a few of these exercises, I combined the results and I was able to distill my values down to a list of five elements. I was very pleasantly surprised about the final result. The list really characterizes me and my leadership style.
After identifying my five values, I spent a little bit of time thinking about what they really mean to me. How would I explain them to someone else?
For example, one of my values is Responsibility. There are two ways that I characterize the value: a) People that work with me need to take responsibility. And b) I am responsible for my team’s mission and objectives. How does that show up in my daily (work) life? If I assign someone a task, be that in person or via email, I expect the person to take ownership of it. That doesn’t mean they can’t push back or discuss the task with me, maybe even get out of it, but responsibility for me means that if I don’t hear from you, you got the ball. The same applies to myself. If you send me a calendar invite, I will either accept or deny it. If I accept it, I’ll be there. I subscribe to my goals and missions and execute accordingly. If you don’t hear from me, that probably means that I am working on it. Of course, there are exceptions. Things happen. But if I say I do it, I’ll do my very best to get it done.
I encourage you to give it a try. Explore your own values with one of the online value finders.
In the next post I will reveal the rest of my five values and then in a follow-on post explore a bit more what to do with them. How did and do they change what I do on a daily basis?