Your Values Aren’t Really Your Values Until They’re Tested

When you’re pushed for time, when there’s pressure on short-term results, when you’re stressed out, wrung out, or merely when there’s an easier choice that could be made in that particular moment – that’s the time the rubber hits the road.

That’s the time when our values quietly ask whether we will hold true to them.

To be ready for that moment, first, define them. What exactly are the values you hold dear in your role? Leadership must be rooted in who you are and what matters most to you. When you know yourself and what you stand for, it’s easier to lead with your values. But you can’t do that unless you intentionally define them. Is honesty one of your values? What does that actually mean to you? What behaviour will we see if you are being honest? Be specific. Establish a basic definition for yourself around how you express that particular value through your behaviour.

Rank them. Prioritising your values is an uncomfortable but necessary process. There’ll be times when you’ll have to choose between them. Knowing which values rank highest for you can be vital.

Practice them daily. Values don’t count if you don’t demonstrate them on a regular basis. Is courage one of your values? How can you demonstrate courage in your weekly meetings, with clients, or in a conversation with a colleague?

Summing-up: Knowing your values is one thing. Sticking to them when the going gets tough, takes real guts. But, if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll find leadership based on values not only makes you a better leader, it makes you feel better about yourself too.

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