Staying true to your core during hard times
Lead Change is a leadership media destination with a unique editorial focus on driving change within organizations, teams, and individuals. Lead Change, a division of Weaving Influence, publishes twice monthly with SmartBrief. Today's post is by Art Barter.
When you have times of challenge, don’t shy away from your core values. Don’t compromise your values in order to obtain or retain business. Your core values must stay intact. Core values are more important to the vitality of the company than any financial goals.
A difference between a value and a core value is a core value is one you won’t compromise on. You may compromise your values now and then. One of the areas that a member of my leadership team pointed out to me was the hypothetical (and common) scenario of someone calling your office, but you direct your secretary to tell them you aren’t in the office when you really are.
Are you compromising one of your values -- perhaps, one of your core values? At our radio manufacturing company, Datron World Communications, the above example would be violating our No. 4 core value: Honest and Trustworthy. We may falter with our values from time to time, but refusing to abide by them is communicating something so much greater about our character. Someone else may not notice it, but we do.
For example, here are the core values my company strives to adhere to:
- Our Families Come First
- Honor and Serve Others
- Conduct Ourselves Ethically and with Integrity
- Honest and Trustworthy
- Uncompromising in our Values
Act for the sake of others
When challenges arise, we need to make sure we do things for the sake of other people. It’s not just about me surviving the challenge -- everyone is trying to survive and overcome the challenge set before them. When times get tough, decisions are made that will affect people’s lives, plain and simple.
When you start to affect people’s lives, you must ensure you’re compassionate with those decisions. How you communicate those decisions is extremely important. It’s not about what is comfortable for you, but how to ensure the best treatment for the other person.
Open and transparent communication
As a servant leader, you owe it to your people to be visible to them and open to their input and feedback. Keep people up to speed on what is going on in your company, even when times are tough. If you don’t, the hall chatter begins and the rumor mill becomes toxic. Your people are the most important asset in your company. When there is little to no transparency, people wonder what you are hiding and start to question your key decisions and actions.
When you are transparent with your employees, they understand where you and the company stand, which eliminates unnecessary speculation and gossip. Provide people with information, even if that information is difficult news to grasp. You will see the impact your authentic transparency makes in showing others your human-ness – which is much more relatable and credible than operating from a hiding place!
“We are all living during a time when people want and expect their leaders to be more human, less perfect, and at times a bit vulnerable -- regardless of hierarchy or rank.” ~ Glenn Llopis
Art Barter is CEO and cultural architect of Datron World Communications Inc., a company he grew from $10 million to $200 million in sales by putting into practice of servant leadership. He also is founder/CEO of the Servant Leadership Institute, an organization that helps people and organizations put servant leadership into practice. His latest book is "The Servant Leadership Journal."
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