Most companies proudly list their values on their sites, in presentations or offers they make; they believe that this puts them on a higher position, creates credibility and motivates potential customers in their decisions. While there are values in management, most of the time the employees or the clients only hear about them, without actually seeing them put in practice.
Why does this happen?
Because the mission, the vision and the company’s values are, generally speaking, established at headquarter level and they are not always correctly and efficiently distributed to the company’s human capital. For those values to be authentic, they need to be found in the personality of every employee. And this must start with the recruiting process.
From my 15 years’ experience of HR Consultant, Recruitment Manager and Trainer on Recruitment and Selection Skills, I can say that I’ve rarely met companies that specified what values they want their potential candidates to have. Most of them put accent on the employee’s experience in domain/ industry/position and one’s skills. However, the real difference is made by the values that one has. This is because values are the drivers of human behavior, besides the fear that those values won’t be respected, either by themselves or the people around.
How do we define values in management and in life?
For example, if my main value is truth, I will seek only the truth and I will not tolerate an environment where this value is not respected. Or, if I tolerate it for a while, my productivity will drop down a lot until I will be fully unmotivated. At the same time, if in my past, there where situations where the truth wasn’t told, I might develop the fear of being lied to, being deceived, and become suspicious, distrustful of others, and afraid to express or behave as myself. And all of those would reflect on my performance level.
Values are not manifested occasionally. Those are behind every action we take, any behavior, action or decision we take. And we can verify this easily. Think about any decision you’ve taken during your whole life and ask yourself: what did I wish to obtain by taking that decision? Or, on the flip side: what I was afraid of not obtaining/ receiving? The answer is exactly one of your values:
- I want/ have decided not to work overtime.
- What do you wish to obtain from this?
- To spend more time with my family.
So, the value here would be “family” Or:
- I’ve decided to change my job.
- What are you afraid of not obtaining if you don’t change your job? / Why do you want to change your job?
- I don’t feel like I’m appreciated.
So, the value here would be “respect”.
Therefore, it is important for the recruiting process to pay attention to identifying one’s values. And for that there are techniques, instruments, tests.
However, if there are employees that don’t have important values within the company, things aren’t completely hopeless, because there are ways of educating and of developing values.
How do we discover values in management and in life?
The first and the easiest way of doing this is by training. For example, if an employee doesn’t respond to clients on time, they don’t have “punctuality” developed ad a value and we can try a Time Management training.
If one lacks diplomacy while talking to clients, they might have an underdeveloped “respect” value. And a course on Communication or Customer Care might help.
If someone starts or maintains conflicts, one might lack one of the following: communication, assertiveness, cooperation. A Conflict Management course would be most suitable.
If a manager’s team is not performative, people complain or they feel demotivated, it is possible that that manager has some underdeveloped values, such as: communication, trust in others, respect, patience etc. If this is the case, a course on Leadership might be helpful, alike to an MBA program or, even a Coaching for Managers course.
And examples can go on. Because, as I’ve said before, behind any situation there is for sure an imbalance when it comes to values. Which means there is a value that the person didn’t develop enough or it manifests excessively. Exaggerated self-esteem might develop into arrogance, so for those behaviors there are trainings that may help one to become aware of them and to work on them.
How to remove blockages?
Even though training is important in developing some values, most of the time it is not enough; it may offer a lot of information but it doesn’t have the same effect on all participants. And that because each of us have our own filters of selecting, accepting and using new information. Some of those filters consist of limiting beliefs, prejudices or fears. For example, you can go to a training about delegation, where you can learn about this; but if it’s hard for you to delegate tasks out of fear of how others might perceive you, no matter how much information you have, you won’t do it. This means there is an internal blockage that stops you from applying the theory.
The solution? Coaching. Through coaching you will get rid of those blockages. And these blockages have the fear behind them that you cannot manifest your values. As an example, the limiting belief “I am not good enough at what I do” may have the fear of not being appreciated, so you value respect. A professional coach helps you identify both limiting beliefs, fears and values. Then, obviously, they support you so you can find your own solutions to educate or develop that value by understanding and implementing it in a positive way.
Another method of educating/ developing one’s values is through mentoring. It is really important that the mentor has truly developed the required value and is trusted by the mentee. Without trust or mutual respect, the mentoring process about values is not a valid one.
When someone has a mentor with some specific values and they give credibility, the mentor becomes some kind of a “model”, which offers the person intrinsic motivation to change. However, as I said before: be careful when choosing a mentor.
What else can you apply
These are the most efficient methods to educate and develop values. For faster results, there are alternative methods, but which should only be an aid in educating values; as a stand-alone they are not good enough:
- Creating or joining a group that manifests the values you want to develop in yourself. For example, if you want to be more optimistic, join optimistic people.
- Use books, media, social-media that show the values you want to develop. If you want to develop being more assertive in your communication, read books on this topic, watch something on this theme, interact with people who know how to do it and learn from them on the go.
- Choosing a personal model that has those values. Even if you have a mentor, you can also have a role mode.
But no matter how good the solutions are, before everything else, a strong, well-defined motivation is needed; an intrinsic one. One must truly want to change. If the change is imposed, it will be only temporarily or partially.