Are You Leading with Value in Mind?

by  Monica Diaz  |  Leadership Development

Great leaders feel most energized when they can add massive value to the community they are working with or the world at large. And isn’t it wonderful when you have been instrumental in inspiring others to do the same? It takes real character to ask yourself, every day:

How am I adding value today?

It boils down to what your unique contribution is to the world. What is it you can add today that will open new possibilities, point to better ways of doing things, immediately improve processes or results? In the continuous answering of this question lie the decisions you make as a leader. How you use your time and relationships, what you focus on will be impacted by your vision of what your own contribution is. Wouldn’t you like your collaborators to ask the same of themselves?

In today’s workplace and scenario, isn’t the poorest form of exchange time-for-money? It is no wonder so many people feel devoid of purpose when they view their contribution as dedicating paid time to their organisation or project. Inadvertently, we all fall back on this interpretation of work from time to time. Even with new, offline and flexitime working environments we wonder if that person is slacking off when they did not answer our iMessage immediately or get on that Skype call on the double! Time has become a measure of commitment. Yet it is not a good measure any more. In the era of ideas, there are far greater ways to add value than simply punching in the time.

Let’s lead beyond that. Have those enriching conversations with people around you. What is it you contribute in value and what are you getting in return?

As a leader, these questions should spark your creativity on the subject:

Am I leading in a way that talented people want to contribute more?

When the exchange of value is positive, and people feel like they get value from adding value, contribution beyond the call of duty is the norm. People will not only spend time on the project but make time for it. It is a thing of beauty that many of us have experienced in our best teams. Thinking about it in this way, allows the leader to see the exchange in a different light and maybe gain the perspective of understanding not only how people work for you but why they do.

How do I understand the value each of my team members or followers want from associating with me and our vision?

Many times, your team members haven’t even asked themselves that. But it is simple enough to explore once you get at it. It’s what drew them to you in the first place. Something they mean to learn, something that enriches their lives, that gives them meaning or challenges them in just the right way, something that allows them to give significantly what they have in excess. I believe if a leader stays attuned to what others are getting from the experience of working with them, they can hone it to perfection, make sure the perfect perks are there for the ideal talent to keep the ball rolling and growing.

Why do people contribute to our common cause? Am I adding to their drivers with my leadership?

Once you know what’s keeping them going and why they are here, is it not your privilege as a leader to add to those drivers so that everyone gets great value from your collaboration? Imagine you working on adding value to them and them working on adding value to your common goals. The point is to create a virtuous, growing cycle that will escalate, enhancing your ability to deliver!

How do we become more and more valuable together?

Value is added not only to the project and extracted from the very work, but also from the relationships and bonds formed. There are many ways that working with this person in this way will increase the value both can contribute. It ignites a spark. I know I love to partner with people in a way that makes us wow our customers with the synergy between us. We pack a punch together and the value is greatly enhanced. Don’t you love to be on those teams? So how can you create opportunities for this to happen within your team and externally?

Its an in-out-and-around approach to adding value that will help you explore the impact of this exchange between talent and organisation. When the exchange is balanced, the output is incredible!

Are you leading with all these aspects of value in mind? Where might it lead you?

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What People Are Saying

Leigh Steere  |  30 May 2014  |  Reply

Monica, I really appreciate your post. You wrote: “Time has become a measure of commitment. Yet it is not a good measure any more. In the era of ideas, there are far greater ways to add value than simply punching in the time.”

Currently, there is a two-tiered feel in many workplaces: Full-timers are “fully committed.” Part-timers are “partly committed” (even though, if you take a close look, the part-timers may actually be creating more value than some of their full-time counterparts). Part-timers too often end up feeling like second-class citizens.

If employers embraced a “value” mindset more thoroughly, they might figure out better ways to attract and hold on to working parents (who have great talents but prefer fewer work hours), boomers (who want to phase into retirement, scaling back from 60 hours to 20 hours), athletes (who need to make a living but need time to train), and others who don’t fit the 50-hour-per-week corporate mold.

Thanks for posting this piece.

Monica Diaz  |  04 Jun 2014  |  Reply

So true. And it happens not only with part-timers and full-timers, but also with home office people, flex time people, those in corporate vs the front line at a store… we tend to judge by where or how long people toil rather than what they contribute.

Glad you enjoyed the post.

Ian Johnson Infinite Group  |  05 Jun 2014  |  Reply

Wonderful Post Monica! Thanks first of all.

The values are the things that I believe that are important in the way I live and work.

They determine my priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures I use to tell if my life is turning out the way I want it to.

When the things that I do and the way I behave match my values, life is usually good – I’m satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with my values, that’s when things feel… wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.

This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important.

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