An old friend often said, “A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” He was a salesman who regularly dealt with people who mainly thought about getting things cheaper (while often forgetting the other side of the equation – “what they were getting for their money.”) They could compare prices, but they weren’t so good at judging value.
Making judgments is a big part of leadership – deciding is a daily activity.
When we do it well, good judgments lead to good results. When done poorly, our credibility as well as our outcomes suffer.
Unfortunately, surveys I’ve gathered indicate many leaders are seen as bad decisionmakers. The workforce thinks their bosses are poor judges of both talent and situations. And, equally as many leaders frustrate their employees by avoiding to make decisions at all (or at least on a timely basis).
All of this is dispiriting within the organization, because it leads to the belief that good efforts will be overlooked, unrecognized, and un (or under) appreciated by those in charge. Or that situations will be mis-managed, because they’re poorly understood and addressed. In many cases, the boss is simply considered to be out-of-touch.
So How Can We Improve our Leadership?
Today’s leaders need to know what’s valuable.
Not just what the organization tells us that it values, that it measures, that it wants from us. (Yes, there’s a lot that’s already in place … which is important, but incomplete.) We need more.
To be our best, we need to make it deeply personal.
We need to know what “we value” based on our own real life, individual beliefs, principles, experiences. And we need to figure that out for ourselves. To come to those realizations, we need to intentionally think, examine, and bring these thoughts into our conscious understanding of who we are and should be.
Then, and only then, can we significantly use these “things we value” as a personal guide for our behaviors and daily interactions.
Having and understanding our values gives us the criteria to compare one thing with another, and makes us a unique contributor. Over the course of time our values will define how we “lead,” make judgments, evaluate people, handle situations, and go about our work.
They create our identity. And, they are the basis upon which we can get extraordinary results. Values are “difference-makers,” separating us from run-of-the-mill management.
– Jerry Strom
Twitter: @JerryRStrom. For more information about our leadership and team development programs, please visit http://www.JerryStrom.com . Join the mailing list to receive new articles as they are published. This article is based on research conducted for ‘The Fault Lines Survey: The Biggest Mistakes a Leader Can Make,’ by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc. Find short insights on Twitter at #FaultLinesSurvey