Values are your core set of guiding principles, a statement of what is so important to you that it cannot be compromised for material gain. The key questions that guide you to your values are: “What do I stand for?” and “What is most important to me?”
Have your values shifted or changed since the pandemic? Knowing your values helps you make better decisions, especially when things are uncertain. Knowing what’s really important assists you in assessing alternatives and choosing the option/s that best fit you. Your confidence in making decisions grows. When you make choices based on your values, you become more aligned with what is purposeful for you.
Getting clarity on your own values is a critical step in becoming an effective leader. Your personal values should align with those of your team and your organization for you to feel like you belong there. For example, one of our Key Women’s Leadership Forum participants has as one of her personal values, “Quality and achieving a high standard of excellence in all I do.” When she took a position with a company that valued speed and doing the bare minimum to get the product out the door fast (they called this “efficiency”), she became frustrated. Her personal values were not aligned with the company—they were in conflict.
Identifying your personal values involves examining the relative importance of the things you hold dear. Consider the list of values below. Review the list; add any values that you don’t see listed that you consider important. Identify your top 10 values:
____ACHIEVEMENT (sense of accomplishment; setting goals and reaching them)
____ADVANCEMENT (moving forward in my career through promotions)
____ADVENTURE (work which frequently involves risk-taking or travel)
____AESTHETICS (involved in studying or appreciating the beauty of ideas, things, etc.)
____AUTONOMY (work independently, determine my work without a lot of direction from others)
____CARING (love, affection)
____CHALLENGE (stimulates full use of your potential)
____CHANGE & VARIETY (varied, frequently changing work responsibilities and/or work settings)
____COMPETITION (my abilities against those of others where there is a clear win/lose outcome)
____COOPERATION (opportunity to work as a team toward common goals)
____CREATIVITY (being imaginative, innovative, coming up with ideas)
____ECONOMIC SECURITY (having enough money)
____EXCITEMENT (experience a high degree of, or frequent excitement in your work)
____FAMILY HAPPINESS (being able to spend quality time and develop relationships with family)
____FRIENDSHIP (develop close personal relationships)
____HEALTH (physical and psychological well-being)
____HELP OTHERS (be involved in helping people in a direct way, individually or in a group)
____HELP SOCIETY (do something to contribute to improve the world)
____INNER HARMONY (being at peace with oneself)
____INTEGRITY (sincerity and honesty)
____INTELLECTUAL STATUS (be regarded as an expert in my field, seen as smart)
____KNOWLEDGE (understanding gained through study and experience)
____LEADERSHIP (influence over others, rather lead than follow)
____LEISURE (have time for hobbies, sports, activities, and interests)
____LOCATION (live somewhere that will fit my lifestyle/allows me to do the things I enjoy most)
____LOYALTY (steadfastness and allegiance)
____POWER (authority, control)
____PRECISION (work in situations where there is little tolerance for error)
____RESPONSIBILITY (being accountable for results)
____RECOGNITION (getting acknowledged for your contribution)
____STABILITY (steady work routine and predictable duties, not likely to change)
____SPIRITUALITY (feel connected to a presence larger than myself and to a oneness with others)
____TIME FREEDOM (flexible work schedule, no specific work hours required)
____WEALTH (profit, gain, make a lot of money)
____WISDOM (accumulation of knowledge)
*Modified from an exercise provided by and with the permission of The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
Next, prioritize the values that you selected, with 1 being most important and 10 being the least among your top 10. As you do so, review your list again and ask yourself:
- Which of these values are essential to me now and guide all my decisions and behaviors?
- Which are important, but don’t have as much weight in my life now?
- Are there any that I should drop because they don’t reflect what I now hold dear?
This blog is an excerpt from Seizing Success: A Woman’s Guide to Transformational Leadership.