The Importance of Leading with Values

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 17:45

Guest post by Greg Roworth

One of the frequent complaints I hear from business owners is, “You just can’t get good people these days.”  

To this, I normally answer, “Well, what would attract the good people to come to work for you?” 

This normally places the responsibility where it belongs. You can’t get good people if you don’t create an environment in your business for good people to succeed and thrive. This takes practical leadership in setting up your business for your employees to succeed.

It is critical that your people buy into your goals in your business. You want them to sign up for more than the opportunity to take home a good wage just for turning up. You want to ensure your people are committed to and engaged in the purpose of the business and that they are all on the same page in their efforts to help your business succeed. 

Engagement 

Engagement is about aligning your people with your vision and mission and ensuring that they are focused on the purpose of your business. If you do not achieve engagement around vision, mission and values, you typically end up with people who just go through the motions. This results in sub-par levels of performance and customer satisfaction. 

You want to have people who are engaged in providing clients with the best possible service and who are self-motivated towards high performance. This cannot be possible when your people are self-focused and self-serving. It comes back to your ability to lead your team and how you inspire them with your vision and mission. Then it is critical that you monitor people’s attitudes and behaviours around your clearly communicated values. 

Rules

The success of the team depends upon creating an environment in which team members openly contribute ideas while recognising and respecting the differences in others. Above all, they need to work to unwritten ground rules that support the values of the business and ensure that the team keeps each other accountable to the purpose and the goals. This takes vigilance and being aware of people’s behaviour and performance as well as ensuring that they operate by the company values at all times. Any transgression needs to be jumped on and consistently stamped out. Every public demonstration of positive behaviour that supports your values needs to be recognised and rewarded and the people made out to be heroes in developing the company culture. 

A strong and successful business needs strong leadership. Strong leaders never compromise on values and they do not tolerate performance that undermines the ability of the team to achieve the vision and mission. Having clarity about the rules and values that support the vision and mission is critical.

Values

Values are the principles, standards or qualities people use to guide their decisions and behaviours.  The values people hold dear are frequently common across a community or a culture.  People tend to associate and feel comfortable with people who have common values.  In business, unless you lead and support the development of a common set of values, which will unite your team and motivate them to perform, you will only create a culture of mediocrity,

Every business operates by a set of values. They either exist according to plan or evolve over time by default. If they are established by default, the lowest common denominator typically wins out in the expression of the values throughout the company. If you want the business to express your values consistently and repeatedly, you must spell them out for all to see.

All of your employees must be taught your values and be held accountable to them. Unless you do this, you risk your business operating at a lower standard than you would otherwise want. People need guidance in how to act. It is all very well expecting everyone to operate with honesty and integrity, with the best interests of customers and fellow employees in mind, but these principles mean different things to different people.

The only way to ensure that your values are expressed throughout your business is to tell your employees what you want to see. It is behaviour that counts here. Attitudes will often change, but you can influence behaviour to fall in line with your values, if you set the standards, so that good people achieve extraordinary success.

Greg Roworth is a business growth specialist and author of Run Your Business on Autopilot – How to Leverage Your Business for Maximum Profit in Minimum Time.  To contact Greg please visit www.BusinessSuccessSystems.com.au or email him at greg@BusinessSuccessSystems.com.au