Before the holiday season sweeps us into its festive embrace, let’s pause and reflect on the bedrock of effective leadership: our core values. This blog uncovers the pivotal role of core values in shaping a resilient leadership style. You’ll learn how to conduct a values audit, the importance of embedding values into personal life and daily operations, and ways to lead by example. These insights aim to resolve the dissonance between professed values and real-world actions, equipping you with the wisdom to lead not just with authority, but with authenticity that resonates well into the future. This applies equally to work and personal spheres.
Core Values Audit: Your Leadership Compass
An honest values audit is your compass for navigating the complex leadership terrain. Align your professional compass with your core values to ensure every decision reflects your deepest beliefs. There are various ways to audit your values:
- Create a list of your top 10 current values. Think of values as things that are important to you and that, when they are represented in your life, energize you or enable you to live a fulfilled life. You likely have more than 10, so pick the ones that most resonate with you at this point in time.
- From your top 10, pick 2-3 to explore further.
- With the 2-3 values to explore further, answer the following questions:
- What does this value mean to you? How would you describe what it means to another person?
- Think of a time when you have most fully lived this value. How did it feel?
- Using a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being rarely to 5 being always), evaluate to what extent you are currently living each of the 2-3 values.
- Create one or two action steps for each of the 2-3 values chosen in the third point above.
- Also, identify what might be getting in the way of practicing those values and what you might do differently to overcome those sticking points.
- With answers from d and e above, create a mini-action plan.
Further, the holiday season is more than a time for celebration; it’s a prime opportunity for introspection. On a leadership note, you could reflect on your leadership actions over the past year and look at how they have aligned with your stated core values. This season of reflection can ground your leadership approach, ensuring that your values are not only present but driving your decisions as you move forward. You can use the reflection to learn what went well and what learning there is to build on for your leadership in 2024.
If you are not clear on how to audit your values, reach out to see if our values assessments may support you.
Embed Values in the Seasonal Workflow
The holiday rush often tests our principles. Embedding your core values in this season’s workflow is crucial, ensuring they shine through in high-pressure times. Know what is important to you over the season and consciously set an intention about it. If, for example, you choose connection as your intention, you may then make an effort to set times to see people, be present with them when you are with them, listen, be curious, respond affirmatively, and have an attitude of gratitude and recognition. Another example may be health and well-being as your intention which may lead to actions such as getting outdoors, being active, giving yourself some down time, or whatever that looks like for you.
Holiday Leadership: Model Your Values
The holidays provide a unique opportunity to model your values in action. Lead with generosity, gratitude, and a spirit of collaboration, reflecting the season’s essence in your leadership.
Integrating Core Values Amidst the Busy-ness of the Season
As the year winds down, the pressure for many ramps up. Integrating core values into your life and leadership approach during the holiday season can be the key to navigating challenges with grace and integrity. When you find yourself feeling stretched or, on the other hand, restless with a slower pace, look to your values and find ways to integrate them. For example, there is often much to do such as planning events, figuring out the perfect gifts for people, preparing for guests, baking and cooking, extra expenses or the opposite, loneliness when there are no plans and people are away. Regardless of the situation, it can be a mixture of uplifting and challenging times. This is the time to dig into and practice your values. If you need space, plan ways that you can take it. If you need to get outdoors, plan outings and invite others but still go even if they are not as keen. Know that taking the space makes for a better overall time for all involved. If you want others to be calm and at peace, find times to help out where you can. If you value contribution, roll up your sleeves to wrap gifts, cook, tidy up, do a project, or invite people on a countryside drive to get people out and about. What are your values? How could you demonstrate them in your unique context over the holidays?
Setting a Values-Based Example During the Holidays
The holidays offer a stage to demonstrate your commitment to your values. It’s a time when gestures of goodwill and ethical decisions can have a profound impact in your life with your loved ones and your team and organization. Emphasize the spirit of gratitude, reflection, and replenishment, and let these values guide your actions during this bustling time. Your setting and following your values-based intention through the practice and demonstration of your own values models the way for others.
As we wrap up another year, it’s beneficial to revisit and fortify the core values that define and direct our leadership, both at home and in the workplace:
- Embrace a values audit to ensure your decisions align with your leadership compass.
- Integrate your values into the seasonal life and workflow to maintain integrity under pressure.
- Lead by example, mirroring the holiday spirit in your leadership style.
- How can you apply values back at work with your team, organization and stakeholders?
- Apply your leadership core values at home during any time off to keep them top of mind and connected.
As the holidays approach, I invite you to join me in this reflective journey to reinforce the values that underscore our leadership. Let’s prepare to step into the holiday season—and the coming year—with a renewed commitment to the principles that shape our leadership legacy. Reach out, and together, let’s make this holiday season a testament to values-driven leadership.