Blog post,  Leadership

Get your values off the wall and into the team

How would you describe your team culture? When a recruiter asks what “Type” of person you’re looking for can you articulate it? What joins your team together?

Team values may be spoken or unspoken, but they are a common way that we work together. They are our unwritten “rule book” of how we engage and what as a team you believe is important.

Often values feel like a laundry list of words that no one really knows what they mean, or what they would look like in action. We have all seen them:

  • Professionalism
  • Empathy
  • Dependability
  • Reliability
  • Loyalty
  • Commitment.

Professionalism is so broad it could mean anything. Reliability to me might be different to you.

Team values, like your own, are very personal and need to be something that team members have agreed to or can see in the workplace every day. Team values can’t just be a list written by the manager and stuck up on a poster. It’s when we take our values off the wall and actually live them can we develop a strong corporate culture.

  • It’s all about our people. Always is and always will be.
  • We want to challenge that status quo.
  • Growth and learning is part of our BAU.
  • We are passionate about our work.
  • We envision BIG and start small.
  • We can do a lot more by doing less, better and faster.
  • We will laugh hard, loud, and often.

Do you see the difference by including ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’ rather than just words? By keeping it short but making it descriptive?

Values create a clear understanding of expectations about how to act and interact. They help staff to feel more motivated and creates a more positive work environment – because everyone is working from the same book. It allows staff to create a connection to the team because they understand how they are expected to work.

As a manager, team values help you recruit staff because you have the personality traits that you are seeking. It helps with performance management because you can set clear expectations for your staff and hold them accountable based on values that the whole team has agreed to. Values help with conflict management in the team because there is a common language and an understanding of how to interact with each other.

“What values really do is help the team members who are a good fit identify those who aren’t by giving them something specific to look for. Our people then become stewards of our culture, helping us keep it intact by alerting us when we’ve got bad apples on our hands. But to me as the leader – the head gatekeeper – to actually do something about it.”

Permission to screw up, Kristen Hadeed.

You might think you know what your team stands for, how you work, what your expectations are. But do all of your staff? Does everyone in the team have a common understanding of how you work together? Have you articulated what makes your team different, individual? Can you answer the question ‘our team culture is …? We value…..”?

Every team needs a clear purpose and values, your why and how in Simon Sinek’s language. There is a direct relationship between clear values and success, without them you will not be able to be as productive, maintain motivation or employee satisfaction. In short, there will always be something missing.

If you need to reset your values or develop them for the first time get your team together now. Elm Communications is experienced in delivering team planning workshops that focus on identifying your purpose and values, and how to put them into action. We are taking bookings now for workshops in 2022. Get in touch!

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