Values drive our behaviours, they motivate the choices we make both good and bad and serve as the filters we use to make hard decisions.
When reflecting and defining your values, you become more aware of the reasons why you find yourself exercising leadership as you are today. It is the first step to understanding the authentic leader you are.
Bringing more of yourself, head and heart to your leadership style is what we advocate. Yet, in aspiring to be the best leader you can be, authenticity might not be enough. Some of your values may come in conflict with the desire or necessity to be or act a certain way, to get better, to stay open, curious, or to evolve with the times. This is when reconnecting and maybe prioritising your values might help, triggering a change, move or realignment.
Conflict often highlights situations that go beyond our core values and beliefs into the realm of culture, habits or our own immunity to change. Indeed, authentic leaders’ three pillars of self-awareness, ethics and self-regulation are constantly under pressure from fast social change and personal responsibility.
Authentic leaders know their strengths and weaknesses, reflect and ask for feedback to make the best possible choices. Even as you’re leading with authenticity, it is critical that you are also aware of the impact you are having, the ripple effect of your leadership. And at times you may want to have a different impact or wish your impact would reach further.
Self-awareness, feedback or opportunity will point out different ways to exercise leadership for greater impact. But it’s important to regularly pause, reflect and look and listen intently for the signs. Decide then, which of these opportunities align best with the leader you want to be so that the effort to learn, develop or change is effective and produces the right outcomes.
Ultimately, the leader you want to be, cannot be in direct conflict with your values.
It is the way you reach the leadership impact you want to have that might make you uncomfortable. In the end, alignment is key to sustainability, authentic leadership and influential impact. But the process, the systems you put in place to balance your core values with the needs, the difficult conversations, confrontation, and provocation we all experience as leaders, are all vital parts of reconnecting to the leader you truly want to be.
All in all, don’t shy away from this tension between the two when you reconnect. Your values will drive your final choices no matter what. If you are really motivated to change how you are leading for greater impact then being absolutely crystal clear on your values will support your growth and veer you in the right direction.