Three Rules for the Values-Aligned Leader

Who are you being when you do what you do?

In our “get it done,” fast-paced work environment, this is is not an easy question to consider. Yet the servant leader – the values aligned leader – must be hyper aware of how he or she is operating within the business, in every interaction, day in and day out.

I have coached dozens of  senior leaders who work hard to demonstrate values alignment in their personal and professional lives. Over hundreds of conversations I’ve discovered three vital rules that help keep the values aligned leader on track. By following these rules, you can ensure that your plans, decisions, and actions honor the principles you want to demonstrate.

1. State your intentions

First, if you have not done so already, formally define your personal purpose and values. Your purpose is what you want to accomplish, for whom, and to what end. Purpose is “present” oriented (vision is “future” oriented), so your focus is on the work, the team, and the opportunity that today offers. Values, defined in behavioral terms, enable you to be clear about how you’ll go about accomplishing your goals. (For specific guidance on how to define values in behavioral terms, see my blog post on the subject here.)

Once you have formalized your personal purpose and values statement, share it with your team, your peers, and your boss. Let them know that it is a “working document” that will evolve over time as experience helps you learn how to refine your statement. Let them know that you will examine your every plan, decision, and action in light of the standards your purpose and values statement represents . . . and you’ll need their help to stay on track.

2. Behave consistently

Once you have defined and shared your personal purpose and values, your responsibility is then to consistently act on those standards. Evaluate decisions, actions, and plans based on how they well they align with your purpose and values. With focus, you will clearly understand the most values-aligned decision or action. If there is any confusion about what a values-aligned decision or action is, check it out with trusted partners in your workplace – direct reports, peers, and/or your boss. They may provide insight on the best solution to those “gray area” issues.

You want behave in such a way that you walk out of the office, plant, facility, etc. at the end of each day with your “head held high,” strong in the knowledge that you did your best to behave according to your stated purpose and values.

3. Actively seek feedback

Perception is fact; you must enable open and honest feedback between you and your reports, peers, and boss to ensure your values-aligned intentions are in fact seen as such by these key players. State, “I am trying to consistently act on my defined purpose and values. In your view, how am I doing? What could I do better? What concerns do you have?”

You will likely have to structure values feedback discussions; they are unfortunately too rare in today’s workplace. With practice – on everyone’s part – these values feedback discussions can become easier to conduct.

You may receive feedback that is different than how you perceive your plans, decisions, and actions. When that happens, don’t defend; this is a chance to learn about values alignment! Ask, “Tell me more. What can I do differently next time to ensure I’m making the best decision?” When the conversation ends, honestly thank them for taking the time to help you understand their viewpoint.

You’ll need to spend time every week with these three rules – refining your purpose and values, sharing them with your key players, and soliciting feedback. Leaders that do this well have enjoyed higher performance (by self and team) and higher employee work passion. How can we help you with this process?


Subscribe to Chris’ mobile updates, texted right to your smartphone! Text VALUES to 72000 or head here.


Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips can be found on YouTube. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


vimeo_logoChris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips are also available on Vimeo. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeSubscribe to Chris’ posts via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to or subscribe to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2017 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

, , ,

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes