Establishing your core values

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As we meander along our path in life we come across people that we get on well with and others that we don’t. We encounter organisations and groups with whom we resonate– and others with whom we don’t. Within the HR world, good relationships with company staff and leaders are essential in running a pro-active and successful HR function. Key to this is understanding your own core values before feeding through to colleagues and departments. 

If we stop for a moment and consider what it is about the people, groups and organisations with whom we positively connect – there will be a reason. If we consider those that we don’t connect with – or even those with whom we feel a sense of irritation - there will be a reason.

When we don’t connect it is fundamentally because we do not share the same values or we feel our values are not being met – maybe that they are even being disrespected. 

So establishing what your core values are will give you clarity and a foundation for healthy relationships as well as many other things. Your personal values form the basis of your behaviour, your reactions or responses. They are key to how you conduct yourself and the interactions that you have on a daily basis. Your behaviour therefore is a direct reflection of your values and the standards by which you have chosen to live by.

So what are your personal values?

For clarity in moving forward in life it is a great thing to truly understand them and how you prioritise them. And to be honest, it isn’t something that we always give a lot of thought to. So what are your top 10 values? Here are some examples to help get your thoughts going:

  • security
  • honesty
  • respect
  • trust
  • understanding
  • freedom
  • adventure
  • acceptance
  • health 

Make a list of your top 10 and then place them in order of importance. Make sure you don’t place them in order of importance for just one part of your life – for example your job or career, as it may not be the same for life overall. Make sure that you are considering it all from the perspective of who you are versus the requirements of what you do.

Now you have your values firmly in place, look at what they truly mean to you. List them out and make notes on what each value means to you – for example if you have put respect. what does that mean? How do you demonstrate it towards others? What has to happen for you to feel respected by others?

When you have done that – make a note of how each of your values gets met. How are they fulfilled and in which parts of your life?

Getting your values into focus will help you to understand the positives and negatives in your interactions. If your values are not currently being fulfilled, work out what you need to do about it. Prioritise your goals accordingly.

From a company and HR perspective, in order for employees to understand what is expected of them, the company’s values need to be clearly communicated. This will form the foundation for how people behave and for them to know what is expected of them. The values that you establish and live by within your organisation will allow you to develop a strong and performance culture - a culture where you know how to motivate employees and where transformational leadership provides for true employee engagement.


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