In late December and early January, I did a series of posts on what leaders need to do to help the people they lead to succeed. These tips were related to one of the points I make in my book 4 Secrets of High Performing Organizations: create a committed and engaged workforce.
Developing and communicating a clarity of purpose and direction is another of the 4 Secrets. Organizational values are helpful in communicating clarity of purpose. Values guide decision making. They help people figure out what to do in ambiguous situations.
In this post, I will concentrate on one of the things great leaders do to use values to communicate their organizations clarity of purpose.
Lead by communicating that fact that your organization’s values are job expectations for the people you lead.
Great leadership begins with a clear, unambiguous statement of expectations. Great leaders clarify, in specific terms, exactly what they expect of the people they lead. This applies to every thing from work attendance to sales or production sales and/or production goals and quotas, to organizational values. Yes, values. Leaders cannot expect the people they lead to conduct themselves in accordance with organizational values if they don’t make it very clear that values are important and that they expect everyone to act in a manner consistent with organizational beliefs and guiding principles – the values.
Great leaders teach organizational values to the people they lead – and what practicing values means. The first leadership step is to clearly communicate that values driven behavior is a core part of everyone’s job – regardless of the level, function, tenure or geographic location of the people you lead.
Great leaders just don’t say that they expect the people they lead to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with organizational values. They know that words often fall on deaf ears. Great leaders become sales people for their organization’s values. They convincingly sell the people they lead on the importance of conducting themselves in accordance with organizational values.
Great leaders who do this, find that the people they lead, bring organizational values to life, because they want to – and to a certain extent, because they have to. When this happens, life as a leader becomes easier.
Leaders who communicate compliance with organizational values as a job expectation, don’t have to constantly look over the shoulders of the people they lead; because people will be doing the right things because they understand the reason for doing them.
A word of caution here. Great leaders know that communicating values as job expectations doesn’t mean that they expect all of the people they lead to do everything in the exact same manner as they do. Leaders who do this, stifle creativity and independent thinking. Afterall, organization values are meant to serve as guideposts – to help people figure out to act in ambiguous situations. They are not hard and fast, rigid rules.
Great leaders encourage the kind of innovation where the people they lead develop and try new ways of doing things that are consistent with organizational values and add value to the business.
Great leaders realize that the best way to convince the people they lead that organizational values are important is by making them a priority in their day to day activities. These leaders focus their efforts on ensuring that all of the people they lead know that they are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the values.
Great leaders help the people they lead see the importance of organizational values. They make it clear to the people they lead that they pay attention to not only what people accomplish, but how they accomplish it. Great leaders who make living in accordance with their organization’s values a top priority, the values become a top priority of the people they lead.
- Great leaders don’t make the people they lead read their minds. They set clear expectations.
- Great leaders make it clear that they expect the people they lead to conduct themselves according to organizational values.
- Great leader not only communicate organizational values to the people they lead, they sell the values to them.
David Cottrell, a well know business writer, says it nicely. “One of the best ways to ensure that values happen is to treat them like work rules.” Leaders can’t go wrong following this advice.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense. Check out my other blog: www.CareerSuperStar.com for common sense advice on becoming the life and career star you are meant to be.
I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
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