Foundational Leadership Values

Don’t Go Into The Meeting Without Them

Foundational leadership values?

Are you confident that they are clean, good and will serve not just your interests but the interests of those you serve? Many leaders simply get swamped with the day to day and as a result do not have an up to date values foundation.

Why is this important?

Without a value based foundation leaders will consciously and unconsciously look to externals for their values positioning.

Consciously they will engage in formal and informal opinion polls, employee satisfaction surveys or simply absorb the loudest voice or as they say the squeakiest wheel.

Unconsciously our antennas are picking up signals non-stop. Some are confirming, some are challenging. If a leader is primarily, either externally searching for validation for their values or is being nudged without even being aware of the stubble influences around them, they can end up one day looking in the mirror and not recognize the values staring back at them.

What can we do?

One of the most powerful tools within a leader’s values tool box is healthy, functional friends and peers. These relationships, when honed and developed, offer a venue for leaders to openly talk through their values in a private off site setting.

Picture Two Options:

A. An annual three day hiking trip with your closest friend and a peer: While relaxing at your tent site the three of you review and polish your leadership values foundation. Laughing, emoting frustration, challenging, encouraging all wrapped up in a long term supportive relationship. No topic is too geopolitical or off side but rather our greatest fears and deepest thoughts are all open for discussion. This annual event is supported with the usual texts, calls and connections creating an ongoing peer support mutual mirror.

B. In the heat of a manager’s meeting without the opportunity to defer or roll the issue to the next meeting you are against the wall having to invent your leaders intent, (values) on the spot in the middle of a friendly and hostile audience. Your thoughts are racing, many options and opinions appear to have valid angles… you can hear your heart beating in your chest… your brain searches for a foundation to build a response and finding none you swallow hard… and then start speaking.

Stop and Evaluate:

1. What percentage of your leadership decision making is foundationally grounded in pre-thought out values? The higher the percentage the more resolute and enduring the leader.

2. How are you reviewing and developing your foundational value based leadership? Do you have peer support away from your biased organizational influences? If you were to add one more person to this peer support innercircle who comes to mind?

3. This might be the most difficult question to work through. Are you currently confident in your source for your values based leadership foundation. If it could use some shoring up, what resources will you tap into?

Switchback Experience:

Especially during multi day training and leadership meeting facilitation we get the front row seats to this dynamic process of leaders searching for values. When leaders have a values based foundation to stand on, the meeting dynamics rarely escalate into “snowball fights” or the self rejection tactic of folks “hiding in caves”. Rather a calm, productive, respectful culture seems to flow through the meeting creating collaboration and efficient problem solving.

Is this common sense insight common in your organization?

Steven Falk

P.S. Don’t forget, People Can Change and The Power of Success is in TEAM

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