What are your personal values? What rules do you try to live your life by? As the thoughts swirl in your head, try to distill them down to 5-7. Mine are honesty, kindness, selflessness, caring, and integrity. These all interplay with others. For example, I do believe honesty is the best policy, but if my sister asks me if her dress makes her look fat, I may temper my answer with kindness and caring: “No, but I’ve seen you wear more flattering dresses.”
Just as my personal values naturally surface in my interactions and decisions outside of work, they influence my decisions at work as well. The same is true, I am sure, for those I work with, and likely for you as well. The research supports this as well. In findings Bret Simmons recently blogged about:
“One of the things this new research suggests enhances engagement is value congruence. Value congruence is the extent to which the individual can behave at work consistent with their own self-image. It’s very difficult to experience meaningfulness in our work if we are expected to behave in ways that are inconsistent with the highest values we espouse to ourselves and others.
“‘When individuals find that their role expectations pull for behaviours that they feel are inappropriate for their preferred self-images, they feel devalued, taken advantage of, and less willing to give themselves to their work roles. (Rich, et al., 2010, p. 621).’
“This is where leadership integrity comes in. Leaders with integrity in the eyes of their employees speak and act in ways consistent with what employees value. The leader’s personal behaviour reflects values congruent with employee values.”
Value congruence. This is an even stronger reason for making your company values come alive for and in your workforce. If you’re promoting company values in any way, but then not acknowledging those values in the work (or ignoring violation of those values), then you’re setting yourself up to lose integrity in the eyes of your employees. And if your employees don’t trust you, don’t believe in what you as their boss are doing and working toward, then they will not work as hard or with as much purpose.
What are you doing to ensure your company values (and how they are recognised) are in alignment with employee personal values?