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Your values describe what is important to you in the way you live your life. They give meaning to your life, are the foundation for your beliefs, they influence your decisions, actions and behaviour and impact the life you choose to lead. Examples of values include respect, openness, independence, privacy, financial security, creativity, optimism, happiness, family oriented, success, healthiness, compassion, kindness, perseverance, spontaneity, trust, perfection, modesty, loyalty, fun, professionalism and accuracy.
Everyone has a different set of values with varying degrees of importance given to each value. You may be conscious and very aware of your values or you may hold them in your subconscious acting on them but not being consciously aware of them. When you live your life in line with your values you are likely to feel fulfilled, however where your values are in conflict with each other or how you are living your life you may feel stressed and unhappy.
So how do your values impact you at work or in your business? Here are some examples:
Supporting and energising your work. Where your values are aligned with your work or business you will find that they support and energise your work e.g. If you have a value of trust and you feel trusted by everyone you deal with at work and you trust them. It may be that some of your values are aligned, whereas others are not. If this is the case you will be happy with elements of your work but not others. The more you can align your values with your work or business the happier you will be in all areas of your life.
Conflicting with your work. Where some or all of your values conflict with your work you are likely to feel very unsettled or stressed. e.g. If you have a value of timeliness but you are finding that due to the rapid growth of your business you have too much to do and things are not being completed in a timely fashion, you are likely to feel very uncomfortable. In this situation you may be able to align your work more towards your values and feel better by employing an extra member of staff. When you are feeling like this consider your values and look for ones that are currently conflicting with your work and then take action to change the situation.
Creating stress at work. When you are feeling stressed at work it is important to understand the root cause of the stress by exploring the situation and to take action to tackle the cause and hence reduce the stress. One potential cause would be a disconnect between your values and what is happening at work or in your business. You may have a value of financial security but your business cash flow position is very stretched. This may be making you feel financially insecure and could be the cause of your stress. When you are feeling stressed and are trying to identify the cause look for a disconnect between your values and what is happening at work or in your business.
Impacting your relationships at work. Your relationships at work may be impacted because your values and those of the person you are dealing with are different. You may take different positions or behave in particular ways based on your respective values or you or the other person may find something an issue because of your different values e.g. An employee who values privacy may get upset and find it intrusive when you ask questions about his/her personal life. Differing values can also create conflict in your relationships at work. Consider the values of others as well as your own and try and move conversations from individual positions to what is most important to both of you and the business as a whole in order to improve your relationships at work or in your business.
Telling you whether or not you are in the right role or business. Where you are finding it difficult to honour your values at work or in your business you may be in the wrong role or working for the wrong company e.g. If you value creativity but your role or the company as a whole require you to follow processes and procedures with little scope for creativity and new ideas you are probably in the wrong role or working for the wrong company. Equally if you don't value risk taking then running your own business will probably not be the right route for you. When considering a career move or if you are unhappy in your current position review your values against your role and responsibilities and also against the company values for areas of disconnect.
Creating discord between your personal and business life. Where you find there are conflicts between your business and personal life this may be because your values are not being honoured in both areas of your life e.g. If you value success and associate this with working long hours but you value family life which requires you to spend more time with your family then you will have a big discord between your personal and business life. Where there is a discord between your personal and business life explore your values and consider whether they are only being honoured in one part of your life.
Conflicting with each other. You may find that your individual values may be conflicting with each other at work or in your business. Your values may include success and healthiness and you may be achieving success at work or in your business but you are feeling very unhealthy due to the long hours you are working. To feel better you will need to align your values by taking action to reduce your working hours. Consider areas of conflict between your individual values and take action to increase alignment.
Influencing your leadership style. Your values will influence your leadership style and behaviour. e.g. If you value authenticity you are likely to lead in an authentic way. Also the values of the organisation often come from the values of the leader. Good leaders are usually very self aware, have a strong sense of their values and act from an explicit understanding of their values. Where a leader has a lack of awareness of their values their leadership may be inconsistent and erratic, with their decision making difficult to understand. As a leader consider your own values and how they may be influencing your leadership style and the potential impact of this on the business as a whole.
As can be seen from the above your values can impact you at work or in your business in many ways. How are your values impacting your life and work?
If you would like to explore your values and how they may be impacting you at work or in your business please call Liz Makin on 01780 765270 or email Liz at Liz@makinithappen.co.uk to arrange a free consultation session.
You can also read other business and stress management tips articles that may help you be more effective at work or in your business.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: April 2014
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including anxiety management, communication, resilience, soft skills, stress management, time management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk to arrange a FREE consultation session to discuss our business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services for business owners, directors, managers and professionals.