Values are central to motivation, behaviour, relationships and happiness. They drive our behaviour and are critical in everything we do. We have a set of values in all areas of our lives and so are context specific. In a work context, for example, everyone has a set of values or criteria which are important for our motivation. Values are hierarchical, so there is an order of importance to them. The number one value will be the most important and if it is not being fulfilled we will really struggle and feel very demotivated and unhappy. In fact, the first 5 or so values in our values hierarchy are very important to us.
Values are a really important factor for us to understand when it comes to motivation, fulfilment and general happiness at work. They are our “why” at work. Once people understand their values, can see why they are happy or not at work and what they need to do to change things to address the gaps.
Values also play a massive part in a team context and are so often completely overlooked in team development. When team members understand each other’s values, they increase vulnerability-based trust and psychological safety.
Values are the things that we will stand up and fight for if we think they are being threatened, so it’s easy to see how that can create conflict in a team. If one person has a value at work of honesty and integrity and they perceive that someone in the team has lied to them or hidden something from them, that will threaten to break a relationship and cause conflict. When we understand our values, it becomes so much easier to resolve conflicts or avoid issues even becoming a conflict in the first place as we can talk about them more easily.
So how do you work out what your values are? We use values cards, a set of universal words which team members go through, making 2 piles – yes and no. Then they narrow it down to a pile of no more than 5 cards by grouping similar or linked cards together. And finally, they place the cards in order from 1 to 5. Then we get them to talk through their values with the rest of the team and we notice the similarities and differences in team members’ values. It’s surprising how often we find the same value popping up again and again in a team.
To learn more about values and team coaching, contact us here.