Value Others . . . A Novel Leadership Fundamental
In today’s workplace, your team may be in-person, remote, heading back to the office, or hybrid. Along the way, we’ve learned a few new ways to work together as a team, and your personal development plans have probably changed with the times as well.
As you chart your goals and priorities, consider making room for one more: valuing others.
A few years ago, as part of an HR project team, we were tasked with identifying a company’s core competencies. After weeks of researching, evaluating, and collaborating, we were able to land on five competencies we felt would serve both the company and employees. After presenting our recommendations to the executive team, they responded by suggesting we add a sixth to the list: "Value Others."
I sensed a collective rolling of eyes around the room—and someone spoke up:
“Why should we add 'value others'? We’re known for being such a ‘nice’ company.”
The next day I shared the events of the meeting with a colleague, expecting a similar puzzled reaction to the "Value Others" suggestion. Instead, his unexpected response gave me a completely different perspective on what it means to value others. Here’s what he said:
- When we wait days before responding to someone’s email, we’re not valuing others.
- When we consistently show up late for meetings, we’re not valuing others.
- When we don’t return phone calls in a timely fashion, we’re not valuing others.
- When we frequently have to be reminded that we missed a deadline, we’re not valuing others.
- When we fail to do what we said we would do, we’re not valuing others.
That exchange enabled me to embrace valuing others as a personal virtue. In the years that followed, I’ve shared this perspective in executive and team coaching and have seen it become the catalyst to building stronger engagement.
Values in Action
One of the fundamentals of leadership according to Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, is leadership is an aspiration and a choice.
Every day we get to choose as leaders if we’ll add value or deduct value. In their research, Kouzes and Posner found that leaders Model the Way by clarifying their values, finding their voice, affirming shared values, and setting the example by aligning their actions with shared values.
When we finally draft the epitaph of the pandemic, one of the more memorable lessons will be how this experience made us realize that things we once took for granted carried more value than we realized. May we not waste the opportunity to express to someone, “you are valuable to me” in word and deed.
"To add value to others, one must first value others." John Maxwell
If helping your team value others sounds like something needed in your organization, The Leadership Challenge® Workshop can serve as a forum for creating a common language for talking about leadership and a place to discuss the current challenges facing your organization’s leaders and how to better align the organization's values with the actions of its leaders. Whether you choose a custom, in-house program or attend one of our open-enrollment sessions, FlashPoint is here to help.