Four Ideas to Strengthen Your Values-Led Leadership

Third in a series excerpted from his book FOSTERING CULTURE, A Leader’s Guide to Purposefully Shaping Culture

by Shane Jackson

Your understanding of culture impacts nearly everything about how you lead and how you relate to other people.  Accordingly, firm clarity about your values and the culture you seek to create is key to strong leadership.

Some introspection about your values can ensure you are consistently guiding your team’s culture and that your values are easily ascertained in your leadership approach. These  four ideas can be applied in business, of course—but also in everyday life.

Be Honest About Your Values

The worst thing you can do is claim to believe one thing and then act in a contradictory manner. People have always despised hypocrites, and in our highly evolved society, perhaps more so today than ever. Hypocrisy is a surefire way to sow the seeds of disloyalty in your business. So ask yourself, “If you were on trial for your values, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

Decide Where You Will Compromise

This is not meant to be a misleading header. When you hear about someone compromising on their beliefs, you may get a negative connotation. But this really comes down to spending time thinking about the priority of your values and beliefs.

I think it is incredibly worthwhile to list out and prioritize your business beliefs and then consider the ones you would compromise, given the right situation.

One thing that has helped me is the idea that principles are sacrosanct, methods are not. Like most leaders, I have my methods that I believe work. However, there are other leaders in our organization that have different methods. My rule is that as long as the method is consistent with the principle (or value or belief), then I am not as concerned about whether it is my method or not.

Share Your Values with Customers

For perhaps the first time in history, customers on a mass scale are seeking out vendors who share their values and making purchasing decisions based on these shared values. Shared values are now a differentiator.

Consider how you can authentically share your values with your customers. If you are true to them, you will attract extremely loyal customers. Be careful though, because the only people who hate hypocrisy more than your employees are your customers.

Question Your Beliefs

Our beliefs are based on old information and assumptions. Until time stops this will be true. A curious, driven person will seek to have the best information possible in making decisions. This means that you should constantly challenge whether the assumptions that drive your beliefs are still valid.

If something is true, it will hold up to scrutiny. And the more that something is tested and passes the test, the more reason you have to believe in it. If it doesn’t hold up then it is either not true now, or it never was. Either way you are able to operate on a superior belief moving forward.

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