This blog offers strong insight into the ways values-based leadership translates into effective action and changed outcomes. It’s definitely practical and workable to link core values — essentially the “why” of taking action — to the actions needed or wanted. It’s also interesting to think about the kinds of values used as an example here — learning and caring. In some ways, these words can be values, if we take them at their higher meanings — learning as valuing knowledge or growth, caring as valuing a human bottom line. But at the same time, they’re also actions, and can be understood neutrally (or linked to other values). Perhaps that’s the shift in this human common sense article — values like faith, justice, courage can seem abstract in an organization. But action-based values like learning and caring are easier to link to action-based expectations for employees. Then the requirements of leading and following will feel more authentic to everyone, because they’re something done (embodied) not something said (stuck in the head).
It may feel counterintuitive, but the key to taking action is to shift your focus from the actions on your list to the values linked to those actions.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
If you were a poor listener, most people would immediately recommend you take a class on developing listening skills. In that class you would learn the behaviors that go into being a better listener. At the end of the day, you would have a much better knowledge of the skills involved in listening—but do you really think you would have addressed the underlying causes of poor listening in the first place? Probably not…
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