Want to Understand Yourself? Know Your Values.

Want to Understand Yourself? Know Your Values.

Want to Understand Yourself? Know Your Values.



I recently worked with a client on identifying their values. In some of our initial work, the client had declared that they wanted to live their values at work. Specifically, they wanted their leadership to reflect their values.

For some people, we can easily identify what values are important to them. They exemplify what they value. For example, Mother Teresa modeled love and acceptance for everyone she met. You might know someone who would do anything for their family or someone who is loyal that you can always count on.

Author and researcher, Brené Brown, discusses living into your values in her book Dare to Lead. She writes “A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important.” Then she describes “Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk – we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs”.

You may want to take the time to step back and reflect on what your values are. The challenge for many of us is trimming down our list to a few core values. I generally recommend identifying no more than five core values. Brené Brown challenges us to identify just two core values.

What is the impact of knowing your personal values?

  • When we don’t honor our values, our mental, emotional, and physical state suffers.
  • Understanding your values can help you to prioritize your goals.
  • Knowing your personal values will help you to understand what motivates you.
  • In times of change and ambiguity, your values will be your “North Star.”
  • When opportunities come up, your values will support your decision making.
  • Individuals experience greater fulfilment when they live by their values.
  • It increases effectiveness as a leader and organization when driven by values.

When you know what your values are they function as antenna helping you to navigate your world. By making choices that align with your values, you are better equipped to face challenges and drive forward on your objectives. And when you get that funny feeling in your stomach or some uncomfortableness in your shoulders, it might be a suitable time to check in and see if you are out of alignment with your values.

Some examples when there might be misalignment to your values could include:

  • If you value curiosity but are often shut down from asking questions.
  • If you value honesty but have been asked to stretch the truth or outright lie.
  • If you value trustworthiness but feel you can’t trust people you work with.

As Brené Brown suggests we need to “walk our talk” and lean into our values. How would you rate yourself on living your values on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being Minimal and 5 being Maximal?

In her book, Dare to Lead, Brené Brown writes about how her team took the time to share their values with each other. She found she understood some of her team members better after the discussion because she learned what motivated them and what they valued.

What action would you like to take to begin living your values more consistently? Who can help you be accountable to making a change?

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Welcome to the Listening to the Leader in You Blog

Super-leaders arm themselves with insight. This blog is where you’ll find concepts, ideas, resources and more for honing your full set of leadership capabilities. 
Lynn Schaber, MCC
For the past 20 years, I’ve been privileged to partner with individuals intent on cracking the code to leadership beyond the ordinary.