Are personal values personal? Not if they are to make a difference.

For something to be personal, it’s rarely discussed, held close to the chest. Values need to be unleashed, apparent in your words, visible in your actions, and experienced in your interactions. Those close to you and who interact with you regularly should know your values. Personal values are extended gracefully.

For values to have meaning and impact, they need to shape your beliefs and behaviors. They are your origins. Whether at home or at work, your personal values don’t change. They are woven into your being. They shape how you make sense of the world. But be mindful of biases that trick you to believe and act in ways that lead you astray from what you stand for.

So, it’s with an eye on the aspirational nature of values and on the deception we are prone to fall for, after all, we are human and flawed, that habits of values based leaders become crucial. The habits of values based leaders sharpen the clarity of personal values and uphold our courage to follow them.

It does not matter the context of leader- work or otherwise. As long as we, the ones anchored by values and called to explore to understand their meaning, adhere to their direction and act accordingly. We can be leaders in any context.

So what are the habits of values based leaders? There are four main habits.

  1. Define Values: Values based leaders do not intuitively know their values. They are written down and defined. Only then can they fully inform the psyche of their owner.
  2. Reflect on Values: It’s true that you are the sum of your experiences. But you are prone to make erroneous conclusions about their evolving meaning. It is with a practice of reflection on how personal values direct your actions and how they enrich your life that counters the blind spots you develop that shape how you make sense of the world, interactions, and actions.
  3. Build Intentional Relationships: Values based leaders form relationships with those who help them grow. This requires that a diverse mix of people with complimentary value-sets surround you.
  4. Mindfulness: In today’s business environment, leaders must understand the impact they have on others: their presence, their words, their silence, their actions, and, yes, their lack of action. Mindfulness leads to clarity. And clarity leads to alignment with values. It’s a virtuous cycle.

By no means is this an exhaustive list. You likely have habits that help you remain true to what you stand for. Share them below so that we all can learn from each other.



Shawn Murphy

Shawn Murphy

Change Leader | Speaker | Writer Co-founder and CEO of Switch and Shift. Passionately explores the space where business & humanity intersect. Promoter of workplace optimism. Believes work can be a source of joy. Top ranked leadership blogger by Huffington Post.

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