To build a strong, effective team, (whether it be at work, at home or in your community) you first need to communicate your values as a person and a leader.   What are the guiding principles that you live by and are willing to defend when challenged?

Many times we think we know what our values are, but when pressed, we are not able to articulate them clearly.  Knowing the core of who you are and what you believe will allow you to authentically model the behavior you expect. 

As a leader you are always being watched.  Whether you realize it or not, your actions and words must consistently be in alignment with your values and beliefs.  It is not enough to simply say what you believe, you must also live it.  Remember the adage, "actions speak louder than words"?  It is especially true when you are in a leadership position.

I challenge you to take some time to think about your top three to five values.  Really give it some thought.  Write them down.  Look for words that resonate with YOU.  Don't worry about what others may think of your list of values.  Jot down what initially comes to mind and then put it aside.  You may also want to write a brief description of the word to clarify what it means to you.  Revisit the list later and determine if what you wrote is truly what you feel your core values are.  Remember, there is no right or wrong answer.

A value I have identified for myself is harmony.  Looking back on personal and professional peaks and valleys, I find that I am most fulfilled when I am working with people and finding the best solution for the situation.  Creating that win-win is what I consider harmony.  In working with clients to uncover their core values, there is often a sense of personal discovery when the right word springs to mind.

Once you are clear on your values, it is time to do what Susan Scott in her book, Fierce Conversations, Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, calls an integrity scan.  Ask yourself if there is a gap between what your values are and how you actually behave.  Embedded in the actions we take every day as individuals are our values.  Integrity requires alignment of our values--the core beliefs and behaviors that we have claimed as important to us--and our actions. 

For example, if you say you value time with your family yet haven't spent much time with them lately, you are, by your own definition, out of integrity.  Now I don't believe that most of us go around consciously being out of integrity with our values but I also don't believe we give much thought to whether we are in or out of integrity. 

However, if your behavior is in direct contradiction with your values, your body knows.  Over time your immune system will weaken leaving you vulnerable to illness.  If behaviors within an organization are not in alignment with the value described so nicely in the mission statement, the company's immune system is weak and vulnerable.

To be the most authentic person and leader you can be, I am simply suggesting you ask yourself the following questions:
  • What are my core values?
  • Is my behavior out of alignment with my values in my life? in my personal relationship? in the workplace?
  • Are there integrity outages?  If so, where and what are they?
  • What must I do to clean it up?
  • When am I going to do this?