3-18-2015 Values-Knowing What You Stand For

Why doesn't my team act like a team? Why am I always dealing with politics, bad attitudes, and distrust among team members? Why haven't we come close to reaching our potential?

I am always putting out fires. I never seem to have time to focus on bigger issues. The day-to-day tyranny of the urgent seems to overwhelm the more important strategic initiatives I always intend to focus on.

These soul-searching questions summarize what I see a lot of leaders struggling with in their organizations. This is when I like to ask them - "What do you stand for? And does your team know what you stand for?"

Core Values = What do you stand for?

Knowing What You Stand For

What is important to me? If someone were to ask me what was truly important in my life, what would those things be? For me it's:


  • Faith: Without God's strength, the next three will never reach their potential.
  • Family: Family is the only legacy that will outlast me on Earth.
  • Integrity: My integrity is the one thing in life I have 100% control over.
  • Impact: If I am not making a positive impact on others, why am I here?

How would I answer that same question at work? What do I stand for? What do I want my team to stand for?


Knowing what values are important to me and declaring them publicly is the critical first step to insuring I have the team I want. Values define the behavioral expectations I have for my team.

Knowing what we stand for will insure we will make decisions based on our values not our circumstances. Otherwise our decisions will be reactionary and inconsistent.

When a leader of team or a family does not know what he/she stands for then that leader's decisions can be unpredictable and inconsistent. This hurts the level of trust others have in the leader.

Blog: Three Reasons People Don't Trust You

Find more blogs on Values, Trust and Culture at www.alslead.com

Communicating What You Stand For

If my family or my team does not know what I want us to stand for, should I be surprised when their behaviors stray from those standards? I must communicate those values and insure they are understood.

Values that are well thought out and well communicated are infinitely more effective than a laundry list of rules or an ever-growing policy manual. Whether at work or at home, I do not want to develop compliant rule followers. I want to develop wise decision-makers.

When I frequently and consistently communicate my values to those I lead, they begin to understand how they should think and act regardless of their situation. If this occurs, I can be confident in how my team and/or my family will process their decisions when I am not around.

The Bottom Line:

By knowing and communicating what I stand for, I give myself, my family and my team a decision-making criteria that will help us all make critical choices in the heat of the moment.

Not knowing what I stand for and not communicating that with those I lead is recipe for trouble. But the absolute worst thing I can do for my family and my team is to claim to hold certain values and not live up to them.

Most teams have a set of values published on a website or posted on walls in public areas.

Perhaps it is the leaders who do not communicate, reinforce or live up to those values who are responsible for the politics, bad attitudes and distrust within their teams?

That is a rhetorical question. Of course it is the leaders who are responsible! Leaders are always responsible for the culture of the team or the families we lead.


What would your family and your team say you stand for?


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