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what are leadership core values leadership coach anne koopmann

What are Leadership Core Values?

We’re going to talk about how you can lead with your leadership core values and also why it is  important that we as leaders know our values and live by them.

Before we go into leadership values. I have a question for you.

  • Have you ever thought about who you are as a leader?
  • What’s your leadership brand, your leadership identity?

Your leadership identity is your leadership story, it’s your purpose, your vision and mission  and it is your leadership values.

If we want to lead with integrity and authenticity, we have to live by our values, by our true identity as leaders, we have to put down any mask and we have to start to live by who we really are and lead that way as well and show up to our brand every day.

Who are you as a person – as a leader 

You have to connect to who you are and what you stand for. What do you care about? What are you invested in? And then you have to show up to that every single day. So your people start to get to know you.

And when it comes to values, we know that organizations, most big organizations have values. That’s nothing new, but did you know that it’s really important that you, as a leader or a small business owner, have your own leadership core values? Your values, your guiding principles, your non-negotiables.

In their book, “The Leadership Challenge”, James Kouzes and Barry Posner define your values as the key principles that help you in every decision that you make. They will be behind your decision-making process. They will guide how you show up as a leader.

They are your moral judgments. They are your guide in how you invest and trust other people.

Some decisions based on your values happen consciously and others subconsciously.

Why are values important? 

Kouzes and Posner also have shown that it actually really matters. Knowing your values is not just some kind of fluff is actually really important.

They’ve done some assessments and research, and they’ve shown that people and leaders who know their values and are connected to their values every day, feel more committed to their work. They’re more effective as leaders, and they’re also way more productive in the work that they do.

The personal values of a leader, drive your motivation and your passion, and therefore their drive, the energy that you put to the work that you do.

The benefits of knowing your values as a leader 

Knowing our values can promote ethical behavior. It can help us make decisions.

We gain more clarity of what we stand for and where we are going to go. What our goals are.

It allows us to invest in teams and teamwork, build strong relationships, be more transparent, and also give clarity to the people that we lead on who we are and what’s important to us. It helps build the crucial trust because if we show up to our values every day, the people that we lead will start to see us for our values.

They will start to be able to predict how we are going to behave. They don’t have to second guess what mood we are in and what that could mean for our decisions or how we communicate that day.

The team just know what’s important to us and what drives our decisions and our behaviors. So that way they can start to build relationships with us and build trust.

How to action on your values 

A few key points to make is that your values should be visible. So it’s not enough to know your values. You actually have to communicate about them. You have to share your values and you have to live by them. You have to share examples of how your values have guided you and your decisions.

If you don’t live by your values, or if you change your opinions about your values, it will create confusion, unproductivity, it will hinder trust and it can ruin relationships.

I now want to walk you through four steps to lead with your values.

Step 1: Know your values 

Step number one is to actually know your values. You have to really think about what it is that you care about. What is important to you. You can download my free guide to help you define your values. You can find that under here.

And in that guide, you will find a few steps to actually reflect on your values and define your top five leadership values.

Think about what you really care about. What’s important to you? And then reflect on situations of success and start to see what values were present there for you in that moment.

What did you care about at that moment? And on the opposite, start to reflect on situations of frustration or conflict and ask yourself which values were challenged.

Often when we feel frustrated when we’re feeling anxious or in conflict with others, it’s most likely based on values and one of our values might actually be offended.

So that’s a really good way for you to start to reflect on your values and gain more clarity by figuring out what it is that brought you frustration.

Step 2: How can you use your values daily

Once you know your values, start to reflect on how you can use them in your day-to-day work.

Another important thing here, if you are part of an organization, is to understand how your values compare to the company values? Do they align? Is there a little bit of an overlap? Do they work together really well? Because sometimes we might end up working for an organisation that has different values to ours.

And so we will be in an everyday conflict to live by the company values because that’s expected from you as a leader. But if they don’t align with your personal values, then you might be in conflict because you don’t quite know how you should act, how you should behave. So, understand how does it compare and what does it mean for you and your behavior at work?

So, as you know, the second step is to actively use your values every day. Reflect on how you can use your values. What actions align with your values?

So if courage is one of your values, what are the courageous actions and steps you take every day? How are you being courageous? How do you show others that courage is important to you?

If one of your values is diversity, how do you actively drive diversity? How do you bring change?

If another of your values might be hard work. How do you show that to the outside world? How do you make sure you stay committed to hard work?

So really ask yourself what are the actions you can do to make sure that you live your values every day.

Reflect at the end of the day and see where you were maybe misaligned. Where did you act within your values? Where did you not?  What felt good? What didn’t feel good? Start to question, how much am I living my values every day and then make some changes, take some actions to really live in your values.

Step 3: Be prepared, be vulnerable 

The third important point is to be prepared, to be vulnerable. If you want to truly live by your values, you have to start to share your values, communicate, talk about your values, and help others understand why this is important to you. And because your values are so personal, by sharing your values, you will always give away something personal from you.

You will give people a better insight into who you are, and that makes you a bit vulnerable because you’re not hiding. You’re actually sharing who you are, what you care about and why you care about that.

It might feel a little bit difficult at the start, but you will see that over time, you will see the benefits from sharing your values openly, and that will outweigh this uncomfortable feeling at the start.

Step 4: Build a value based culture 

This leads me into the fourth step, which is to build a value based culture. Once you have understood your values and understood how you can use and live by your values every day, start to help your team figure out their values. Encourage your team members to reflect on their values, share the exercise that you’ve done.

Don’t tell them what to believe or what to value. Really allow them to find their own personal values that they truly believe in. Help them to figure out what that is. Help them to reflect.

And then also share more examples of how you are using your values. How are you making certain decisions and why based on your values, and that will help them see how they can do the same, coach them in this process.

And as a team, you will start to appreciate this beautiful diversity of values. You will start to explore how your values combine, how they can work really well together. You’ll be able to see where there are some differences and what that actually means for you working together.

You can create a beautiful value based culture that is authentic. And everyone actually is happy because they feel aligned to their values. They feel like they can be true to themselves. so they will feel more committed to the work that they do. it will provide a common language and satisfaction

And great leaders spend time to get to know the team members and to get to know their values.

Final thoughts 

If this has sparked something within you, then I invite you to now take some time to reflect on your leadership values. What is it that you truly care about? What is it that is important for you? What are your non-negotiables?

You can download my guide and workbook here to get some help with this. And I would love for you to share your values.

Comment below and share your leadership values and how you’re going to use them going forward. And if you like this video, give me a thumbs up and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.

Ep005: How To Lead With Your Leadership Values

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