Episode 132: Values-Driven Leadership

Say Goodbye to Micromanagement and Hello to Values-driven Leadership

Are you tired of constantly telling your team what to do? I hear you and there’s a better way to lead and empower your team—one that will revolutionize the way you manage and bring out the best in your people.

Picture this: no more endless rules and micromanagement. Instead, imagine a team that understands your values and embraces them wholeheartedly. A team that knows the “why” behind their actions and can apply that knowledge to any situation they face.

In this episode of The Elevate Effect™, we dive deep into the incredible power of values. 


In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Why values are key to building trust and fostering better relationships with your team
  • Practical tips to define your values and ensure they align with your team’s unique identity
  • How values-driven leadership can simplify management and create a more cohesive and motivated team


Featured on the Show:

Hey, CEO, welcome back to the podcast. Today I want to talk a little bit about parenting first. And then of course, it's going to relate to business. So as a parent, I don't just focus on telling my kids what to do. I explain why. And that's because I want them to understand the thinking behind the actions so that they can then apply what they learn to all of the many situations they're going to face in life. When they understand the values that I expect, and not just the rules to follow, I can trust them more, because I know that they can handle different situations, right, they're prepared to handle scenarios, even when I'm not around. And the more trust that we have, the better our relationship is, it also makes so much more sense to them. When discipline is necessary, because we focus on the common threads that we expect. And repeat often, by teaching values. We're saying that this is the kind of people we are, this is the way that we show up and interact. This is what matters. I think values are one of the most important things that you can define as a leader. So it's something I do not just as a parent, but as the CEO in my business. We use values as a guide when hiring when managing and firing. We use values as a common language to recognize our team. And we're intentional about connecting wins to the values that were demonstrated. Because it's not just what was accomplished that matters. To me, how we accomplish it matters even more. If you're not leading by values. Yet, if you don't have defined values in your business, or your team doesn't know what your values are, then stay tuned because I'm going to share some best practices first to help you develop your values, or to keep in mind as you're developing your values. And then I'm going to share with you our core values so that you have an example. So let's get into some best practices. values should be true of your team. You don't want them to be too aspirational. In other words, you don't want to have a whole list of values that are things that you want to be because then when you hire or you interact with people, the values don't line up, right, you want to make sure that the values that you have represent the team that you have, now early on, your values are likely going to represent things that are really important to you and that you want to see in your team. Eventually, as your team grows, your values may evolve over time. And as you have more experience managing by those values, you'll see if things need to be updated. Of course, they're living and breathing, I don't think your values are just your values till the end of time, it's okay to change them, it's okay to revisit them. But as you use those values, your team needs to know that they fit, they need to know that they belong. And when they see values when they were perhaps being interviewed, if you talk about values, then which I recommend that you do, then they get into the business. If they don't align, then they're not going to last long. Because they're gonna be like, Wait, this is not who you said you were, I thought I fit. And that's not at all, what the team is like, right? That's where people feel like leaders are hypocritical sometimes. So don't be too aspirational. Next, I want you to narrow your values down, the fewer the better. Ideally, I would say three to five, no more than six. It's very, very tempting to want to keep more. But when there are more than that five or six tops that you have on your list, I would encourage you to think about which ones really already fit in another category where it could be used as a part of the explanation or meaning behind a different value that's on the list to try to consolidate them down. Also, don't use values that aren't actually unique to your business meaning, even if it does represent who you are. Any business could say that same thing, or any business would be expected to operate in that way. Things like the value of integrity sounds great. And a lot of companies say that their value is integrity. But shouldn't everyone operate with integrity? Right? If so, skip that one. Know that that's a given. And you need to focus on what's unique. I recommend structuring them in a similar way. So maybe they're all one words. Maybe it's you know, a short phrase, but try to keep them somewhat similar in the way that the way that you structure, the phrasing. Write a description of each value to define the meaning. You want to really go in depth and describe what you were thinking when you create value because you don't want to leave it open to interpretation for your team during hiring during onboarding. during routine meetings with your team, you really want to revisit the meanings behind the value so that they understand what that means to you. Someone could hear a value and it might mean something to them, that it didn't mean to you. So get specific and share the definition or the description. I also want you to ask yourself, as you're trying to narrow down, is this a value? That would be a deal breaker when I'm hiring? If not, maybe it doesn't belong? Right? If you wouldn't use that value, to decide whether or not to hire someone, then it may not be one that you should include. Likewise, I want you to think about if you needed to discipline or eventually even fire someone whose work didn't represent that value, would you fire them? If they didn't align with that value? Would it again, be a deal breaker? If not, maybe that's not the value for you. You want them to be things that you can hire, and manage and fire by? If you have any trouble thinking of values, then I want you to think about the biggest success stories and why they were success stories. What made them success stories? What were the values that were demonstrated in that success story that you think really represent your business? Or what are the biggest horror stories or pet peeves? Or the lowest moments in your business? And what's the value that you wish were present? That would have prevented that? And then I want you to imagine is this something that you could actually shout your team members out for and celebrate daily? Is it something that doesn't just happen once in a while, it's something that truly represents how your team will approach their work each and every day. Once you narrow your list. I've already mentioned this, but I want to reiterate, communicate these often. You want to come back to them. Anytime you're giving feedback or direction. Anytime that you're giving praise, you really want to connect the dots to your values as often as possible. Okay, so those are some of my tips for when you're thinking about values. And now, let me share hours with you. As I mentioned, these are living and breathing. And so we actually just met, my leadership team just met and updated our values. And in many ways, they are still the same values that we've had, that we kind of restructured or reworded based on what we thought would bring better clarity, and better represents where we're headed and who we're working with and, and what we're doing and that positioning, which I mentioned in the last episode. And so, again, some of these even crossover and are exactly the same, some, the descriptions are very similar, but we chose different words. 

Either way, I just want to make sure that I'm clear that it's okay for things to be revisited and updated. And we just went through this process. So I thought it would be a great time to share ours with you. This is something that you can listen to, from the perspective of, you know, how I'm describing it and looking for different angles within each and all of the meanings that each value has, for my team. You can also look at it as the perspective of, is this someone that I resonate with and want to continue to learn from, and perhaps work with in the future, because values are important when thinking about who you're working with, as well as a coach. So keep that in mind. Look at it from both perspectives. And of course, think about how you could do something similar. So our first value is big picture focus. For us. Again, all of these are going to have multiple meanings. But this one, I'll just go through the list is all about staying true to our vision and values, really filtering decisions through what matters most to us. I did an episode a couple episodes ago on vision drift and what happens when you don't have this big picture, focus and filter everything through your vision. This is incredibly important to us. And so we wanted to include that. We also under big picture focus look at the meaning of just being strategic and proactive. And having a long term focus on sustainability. We prioritize sustainable growth over quick wins, and we ensure that our smallest actions are aligned with our big picture goals. Our second value is massive action. First, this means a courageous action. We don't shy away from challenges, we are willing to take risks, we are willing to have difficult conversations. We also don't simply treat the symptoms and just kind of take this simple or easy action, we go deep and we cure the root cause we don't wait for perfection, we take imperfect action and really value progress over perfection, we value getting a quick start and building momentum. And for us, our Quick Start isn't quite what a lot of people would think of as a quick start. We are heavy operators in the business and tend to really prioritize strategic, which is up there and big picture focus, but sometimes to our detriment. And so this helps balance that out for us to say, okay, yes, be strategic, take some time, think about things and then decide and move, get to work, build some momentum. And so we needed that to help again, balance that out, focusing on action that actually moves the needle, meaning not passive action, massive action to us means taking action, that is revenue generating, that is aligned with our goals, not action, like just sitting around and talking and planning all day and learning all day. And again, this is one that is important for us because we are strategic. And we do love to learn, you're going to hear more about that in a moment. But at the end of the day, we've got to get to work and really move the needle forward and not procrastinate through action that looks like action, but it's not actually moving the needle, keeping things simple. So massive action means that we don't overcomplicate it and get overwhelmed, we keep things simple, so we can move fast. We go all in, and we commit and deliver. So when we say we're going to do something we actually follow through. And then I've already mentioned it, but we don't overthink or over analyze, we get to work. Our third value is when together. And this is one that we have had for a while and I love this one, I love all of them. But of course, I wanted to keep this one. This is all about collaborating and working together about really seeking out everyone's input and treating everyone and everyone's ideas as if they matter. It's about looking for ways where we can all win. And really build reciprocity into the business meaning if the business wins, the team wins. If our clients win, the business wins, and vice versa, all all different scenarios of that it's not a win for us unless everyone is winning. So we don't sacrifice one outcome for another or one individual for another. This means that we look for ways that we can get the full results that we want. You've heard me talk before about not sacrificing freedom for revenue as an example, winning together also applies to winning in each area, right? We do believe that we can have it all and we don't have to settle. And also, a huge piece of this is that we believe that the world is better when leaders and teams have diverse backgrounds, different cultures, perspectives, different experiences, and they bring those to the table. So that's when together. Our fourth value is lead by example. And for this, what I mean is we demonstrate what we expect of others. We practice what we preach, we're willing to roll up our sleeves and help. We don't ask people to do things that we wouldn't do ourselves. We don't put our leaders on pedestals or make them unapproachable. In fact, we expect our leaders to remain humble and remain available. We aim to be an example of what's possible for our clients and of course, in the industry as well. We take ownership full ownership for the results that we create good or bad. And again, we just we do what we expect others to do. We are role models. If we expect something, then we start with ourselves and make sure that we are being an example of that. And fifth is growth never and for this. We love to learn. We consistently pursue mastery we invest in learning and developing. We study our industry and pay attention to trends. We show up with a willingness to learn we embrace how At the conflict, we give and accept feedback freely. We're coachable, right? We're willing to accept that feedback. We believe that no one knows it all, we always have room to grow. We take responsibility for managing our minds, we empower others to create results for themselves through teaching and coaching their thinking, and we help them to be able to repeat that in the future. Without us, we don't want them dependent on us, we want them to truly grow. And we value innovation over the status quo. We don't accept the reason that we've always done it this way, that's never going to be a reason that we just keep doing things the way that we've done them before. We are going to look to the future and be open to change. So those are our five values and some of the meanings behind each value. I hope that that's helpful. As I share those and gives you some ideas for how you might describe your values and kind of what this could look like. You could certainly go above and beyond if you want it and try to find an acronym, with all of your values, like the first letter of each of your values spell something out to make it more memorable. We haven't done that here that wanted to mention that as well. So just to recap here. By defining and communicating values to your team, you will make your expectations clear, and you will simplify the management process for yourself. You'll no longer need countless roles. And instead, you can lead by a handful of concepts that really represent who your team is and how you show up.

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