I’ve been participating in a leadership training program offered by my university. During the session about building strong teams, our facilitator discussed the importance of identifying and articulating our core values. These values shape our leadership styles, how we approach building teams, address conflict, and develop a culture of accountability. I found this an incredibly helpful concept to focus on. I hold a few values in very high regard, but hadn’t thought about how to articulate those deal breakers to others. That’s how I think of core values- my deal breakers. I came across one website that helped me to apply specific language when articulating my core values. Here they are:
- Being the Best
Fairness: For as long as I can remember, I have been a pretty black and white thinker when it comes to issues of what’s fair. I bring this sense of right and wrong to my work as a leader and administrator. Often this core value is an asset. It helps me to have empathy for others, work to find equitable solutions to conflict, and maintain my sense of balance. There are times when I’m unable to apply this core value, and those are difficult experiences for me. This happens when I’m in a situation that’s outside of my control or influence, or I’ve been unsuccessful with asserting my sense of fairness when talking to the person making a decision.
Learning: I am curious, eager to improve my skills, and seek to better understand the world around me. I’ve always been this way. The running joke in my family is that I’m a perpetual student. And though I haven’t been in a classroom since 2017, I’m pretty sure my family is just waiting for me to pursue my next degree. Staying in a learning mindset helps me to keep my leadership practice strong and evolving.
Being the Best: I’m competitive. I always have been. I’m always striving to do better and often find myself in competition with others, often times who didn’t know we were playing (thank you social media for those helpful updates from others). I hope that this core value doesn’t cause me to celebrate my wins over those of my team. I work hard to be sure that’s not the case. I balance this core value with another of my core values- collaboration.
Collaboration: Before I took on a formal leadership and management role, I relied on my collaboration skills as a way to develop my leadership skills. I partnered with colleagues to work toward a common goal. I continue to use this approach when problem solving or developing a project. A common question of mine is: “Who should be at the table?” For me, collaboration circles back to my core value of fairness, as it’s important to me that people who have a stake, expertise, or experience, aren’t left out. No doubt this core value takes more time than just being the best does. However, collaboration is the space I feel most comfortable in.
Health: The running joke in high school was, don’t call Lori after 9pm, she’ll be asleep. Though not always true, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, not checking email after I leave work, not working after I leave work, are all key part of this core value. I once worked for someone who emphasized, if you’re not taking care of yourself, eventually that catches up to you, and you won’t be able to come to work. And if you’re not there, you can’t lead.
Professionalism: The further I advance in my career, the greater importance I place on this core value. Professionalism means “do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.” It means coming to work and meetings on time, and being prepared. It means treating everyone with respect and valuing their opinions, regardless of where they sit in the organizational hierarchy. It means not gossiping or telling someone something you don’t have the permission to share. It means keeping confidences. It means bringing your best self to work.
What are your core values? How do you practice them?