Leadership Values: Do You Practice What You Preach?

What Are Your Values?

I recently traveled to Napa, California with my husband for a weekend, and throughout the trip, we attended many wine tastings (as one does in wine country). We absolutely enjoyed our time there, but I noticed a common theme with the tour guides. They often mentioned that they did not want it to be a ‘hoity-toity’ experience. One of them even said, “We don’t like to be uppity. We want to be accessible.” Yet a $150 bottle of wine is not exactly backing their goal and values of being ‘accessible to everyone’.

That really made me think about the congruence between the values we, as caring leaders, display on a shelf but may not reflect in our actions. For example, you may say that you value engagement, supporting your team, or listening. But if you don’t take the time to put those values into your actions and the way you carry yourself, the outlook on said values will certainly get lost in translation.

If we start by being fully transparent, it allows for clearly defined goals and value-based rules to work and lead by. That way, if we know where we’re heading, we can better define those expectations and goals. Giving greater clarity on what we need from our team allows them to use that knowledge to guide how they work. This also benefits those who lead us because they can see the why of our decisions and leadership behaviors.

Congruence between values and behavior is a vital but often overlooked aspect of leadership – and it’s what differentiates the most successful leaders with the most engaged teams.

What are the steps in becoming a caring, congruent leader?

Reflect on How You Lead

Recognizing the demeanor you carry through a typical day, on the job or otherwise, can play a big part in aligning the vision to your values. If you want to be a leader who inspires loyalty, employee satisfaction, and team cohesion, consider how your actions look to those around you. For example, perhaps you’ve fallen into a habit of leaving work early on certain days to participate in an extracurricular activity. Would you allow your team to do the same?

Practice Mindful Self-Awareness

Mindful self-awareness allows you the opportunity to reflect on your actions at the end of each day. Take the time to examine your thoughts and ask yourself how your day aligned with your values. Are you who you say you are at the end of the day? If not, what can be improved tomorrow?

Gather Personal Feedback

Reach out for honest feedback from those you interact with daily. This can come from your employees, friends, or even family members. Have them do a simple task for you, such as describing you in three words. What are the commonalities? That will help you decipher whether you’re portraying who you believe yourself to be.

In reality, all aspects of life rely on practicing what you preach. Giving yourself the grace to be mindful and aware will create a congruent flow between your beliefs and your actions so that they can sync together in perfect harmony.

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