A year of pandemic living and working changed our perspectives in many facets of life. We’ve come to realize certain assumptions about our jobs or lifestyles were incorrect. People who thought remote work was impossible for them found it feasible, or even easier than working in an office. We realized that while in-person connections could not be replaced, videoconferencing with friends and relatives was more of a comfort than we expected.
For many, however, our perspective adjustments were rooted in a deeper level of reflection. Many of us began rethinking what was most important to us, and contemplating what our core values might be.
Core values dictate everything we do. Once a person understands and can articulate their personal core values, they will start to consider how those ideals might impact their preferred work environment or career path. Companies can better serve their employees, and help them get better results for the organization, by helping them identify, articulate and apply these core principles in work and beyond it.
What are core values? Core values are the non-negotiable principles that are most important to you. These are the guideposts that key you on track in life; consciously or unconsciously, they drive your most important decision-making. If you do the work to discover your core values, everything in your life makes a bit more sense, and your most important decisions are easier.
To be clear, your core values aren’t marketing slogans that present you in the best possible light. They aren’t aspirational declarations; they describe who you are, not who you want to be. If you can help your employees clarify these core principles, you can help them unlock their best potential, to their own benefit, and your organization’s.
We’ve seen this at our own company, Acceleration Partners. We’ve made finding core values a key part of our leadership development curriculum, because we’ve found the most effective leaders are those who know who they are at their core and can lead authentically according to those values. Not only will doing this improve the leader’s performance and fulfillment, but it will help them get that high performance from their teams as well.
Unlock your team’s values. In the wake of a life-altering pandemic, there’s a good chance your employees have been reflecting on their priorities in their lives and careers. They’ve probably been considering whether they are fulfilled by what they do, and may be evaluating their own perspective on big components such as family, where they live and their overall health and wellness. If you help your employees identify their values and serve these big picture aspects, they will perform better in all facets of life, including at work.
A good starting point is for you, as a leader, to do this work yourself. It’s difficult to coach others on what their core values are if you don’t have that clarity for yourself. Once you have taken the time to create and refine your own list of core values—either through careful self-reflection, or by consulting a tested resource, you can coach your team through the process.
Your employees are confronting big questions about what matters most to them in work and life. As a leader, you can help your employees do this work. In the process, you will help them excel, be fulfilled, and deliver better results for your organization. If you get clarity on your core values as a leader, you can help your team do the same, to the benefit of everyone involved.