How Leadership Values can Create Synergy or Discord

Image found at http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/

Image found at http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/

For Leaders & Teams, the development of Synergy and prevention or resolution of Discord (chaos) are two of the biggest challenges faced every day. How your Personal and Organizational Values effect the ability to pursue these is directly linked but many times ignored or viewed as insignificant. Your Values include your biases, mental models, paradigms and what you intuitively value as important. Your Organizational Values drive the organizational behaviors, and actions.  Both are demonstrated in your Mission, Vision and Purpose statements.

These “Value” statements are linked to your organizational strategies, goals and ultimately the tasks that everyone is striving to work on, and think about. Values are also a description of what the organization thinks is important. They help create priorities to assure the people are performing in alignment and balance to what is expected. Steve Pavlina has identified a list of over 400 “Values” that can be found at – http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/list-of-values.htm.

Both Subjective and Objective values are part of the balance and makeup of a person.  You may recognize these immediately and say that “Yes” that is part of me. Not all values are the same, in other words some are more important than others. These values also work in conjunction with each other to compliment performance and actions. In some ways, the importance of a subjective or objective value causes us to think more clearly about it. A simple explanation of the difference between them is:

  • Subjective Values – these are values you chose because you find alignment and balance in them.  Superman finds his values in his self-declared proclamation of “Truth, Justice and the American Way”! Superman represents these values by “walking the talk”. He exhibits these values constantly with his behaviors and actions. This is a fictitious example, but a clear demonstration of personal values to actions.
  • Objective Values – these are values that are inside the “object”, culture or organization. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream has a Mission Statement that tells others that they are dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity.  With 3 interrelated parts which encompass a Social Mission, Product Mission and an Economic Mission while holding a deep respect for individuals inside and outside the company and for the communities of which they are a part. I have personally used Ben & Jerry’s as a model of ethical behavior in an academic format with students for years.

The balance of these subjective and objective values make you “authentic” as a leader. They can also send a message to everyone who interacts with you regarding whether you are credible or not. Harry Kraemer, professor of management and strategy at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and author of “From Values to Action,” describes four principles of values-based leadership that can be embraced, enhanced and demonstrated. These are:

  • An ongoing self-reflection helps you identify your core values and goals and what you truly stand for.
  • The ability to see more than one side to a story, giving you insight into the issues and tradeoffs and how you’ll make decisions.
  • True self-confidence, is accepting your strengths and weaknesses, knowing you can improve.
  • Genuine humility, stems from never forgetting where you came from and keeping your leadership role in perspective

As a leader in your organization, you model the behavior for others and, whether you like it or not are a role model for others by your demonstrated actions. You don’t identify your core values and then ignore them. Truly great leaders are in complete alignment with their values, actions and behaviors and create synergy.

Unfortunately, there is a possibility where any one or all of these values is not in balance. An example would be when a leader says one thing but does another. When a leader is seen behaving in a manner that is not represented by, or is contradiction to the organizational value structure, they create discord or what is more openly called chaos. They become unpredictable to others and lose the trust of those around them. Sometimes this is a sign of leadership immaturity but it can also be a lack of clear values structure and weakness. Ultimately it puts leaders in a position where they may not be able to trust the other leaders they work and interact with every day.

To create and be a positive leader in a values-based team or organizations is something that everyone should strive for and be comfortable exhibiting.  H. Kramer suggests that as a value-based leader you set the tone for your team and others. You must continually ask yourself “what example am I setting” and “are my actions in line with my beliefs and values?”

The only way to change a negative “Value” in yourself or your organization is to recognize it and publicly acknowledge that it is not acceptable. This requires exposing the actions, beliefs and behaviors that are not considered acceptable. Next, you must provide the framework and replacement actions, beliefs and behaviors that are considered acceptable and publish these.  Most organizations create “value” statements that establish this framework for their employees but what even be necessary to create a “Leadership” Mission Statement.

By establishing a Leadership Mission Statement you can establish an expected consistency among the leadership staff. It focuses the recognition that leaders model the behavior of what is acceptable and creates an alignment between organizational and personal values.

Values have three components – an emotional, cognitive and behavioral pattern that is based on our feelings. Feelings are very personal and sometimes need clarification to explain them clearly. Values are distinguishable from feelings, attitudes, goals, opinions, beliefs and habits. Values are the aspects of our lives that exhibited by behavior patterns. Hopefully our decisions are made on the basis of the positive values, principles, and priorities that we embrace.

Almost any thinking & action has a critical value component so it is impossible to ignore them. Additionally you constantly demonstrate Leadership values by how you talk to others and what you say. Ultimately this creates trust, establishes positive relationships, and helps create synergy. Remember that actions speak louder than words.

References:

  1. http://www.kantola.com/Harry-Kraemer-PDPD-395-S.aspx
  2. http://www.benjerry.com/activism/mission-statement;jsessionid=4674509C0EFA9A2D79A3F8267517DC7B.bnj1_worker
  3. http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hrolston/V-Subjective-Objective.pdf
  4. http://www.amazon.com/Values-Clarification-Dr-Sidney-Simon/dp/0446670952
  5. http://www.amazon.com/Six-Value-Medals-Essential-Success/dp/009189459X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383672104&sr=1-1&keywords=six+values+medals

 

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