I’d wager that most executives can name their organisation’s values but asked to identify their own I believe many will struggle. Yet personal values reflect what’s important to you in life. They determine your mindset and actions, which impact your professional success and fulfilment.
What’s more, as a leader, your values influence your leadership style. They signal to others what’s acceptable and valued by you, influencing workplace culture.
Simply put, your values impact your wellbeing and that of those around you at work, yet they are something we invest little time in understanding.
As an executive coach I work with successful professionals looking to be the best they can be at work every day. For me, this starts with knowing who you are and understanding your values because so much anchors back to them.
If your values are at odds with your employer’s, you’ll likely be unhappy in your work. If you’re in conflict with a colleague, there’s a good chance they’ve crossed your personal values line.
Think of your values like a compass - there to guide everything you do.
Living your personal values as fully as you can every day will positively impact; your wellbeing at work; your professionalism; and your career advancement.
Don’t believe me? Here are just three ways I’ve seen executives benefit from harnessing their personal values in their professional lives:
Your values are the foundation upon which your personal brand is built. They are always under your control and taking deliberate decisions in line with them will take you closer to the kind of person you want to be - determining how you are seen and remembered.
Working in ways that align with your values makes it easier for you to prioritise and less likely that you’ll second guess the decisions you make. As well as increasing your own performance, employing your values to drive a positive working environment for others also drives a higher overall performance culture.
When your inner critic rears its head to keep you safe but stuck, understanding your values helps you differentiate between what’s an excuse and what’s a valid reason for not moving forwards. Given values reflect our beliefs and drive our behaviour, understanding them can also help identify your biases – enabling you to become a more inclusive (and subsequently, more in demand) leader.
Susan Room is a former corporate leader, turned professional coach. One of the rare few qualified to provide voice and executive coaching, her unique blend of experience now sees her helping others feel, look and sound confident – positively improving their professional performance and happiness at work.