Ask any job recruiters and they’ll tell you: to succeed in today’s business world, it’s essential for you to understand your value. What talents and skills do you bring to the table? What is the one thing that you do best for your company?
So much of the communication that takes place in the job interview process is directed around this concept of your value. Are you a critical thinker? Are you great at strategizing? How skilled are you at this job?
But that’s not all you bring to the table, is it?
There’s another side of your contribution that’s more than your value. It’s your values.
What do you believe is the right way to lead? How do you conduct yourself in a conflict?
Your answers to the values questions are just as important as your answers to the value questions.
Growing up, I remember hearing about the importance of winning at all costs and doing whatever it takes to get where you want to go. I never fully identified with that concept.
Winning without integrity brings me no more satisfaction than beating a 5-year-old in a game of Scrabble. Both leave me without any real sense of accomplishment.
Integrity is my brand, so it’s important for me to represent it well. Just as the Whole Foods brand would be devalued if they stocked their shelves with packages of processed foods, I too would lose value if I compromised my brand.
Some of my core values include integrity, trust, accountability and perseverance. I want my coworkers to view me as a hard worker, who is dependable, trustworthy and committed to ethical leadership.
Because I use these values to help guide my daily decisions in the workplace, if I am asked to do something that conflicts with them, I feel comfortable voicing my concern. A company that would ask me to go against my values clearly doesn’t respect or share them.
As you consider moving up within your organization or accepting an opportunity with a new company, be prepared to communicate your values to the company, and assess whether or not your superiors share those values.
If you have to give up your values, a new job with more money will be the worst deal you ever accept.
Always remember, Leadership is a Lifestyle.
– Ryan W. Hirsch
Operations Director, NASBA Center for the Public Trust