Clarifying your values
Defining values
Values are formed early in our lives,
from the influence of our parents,
teachers, friends, religious leaders, and
media role models. Some may change as
we go through life and experience
different behaviors. Your values
manifest themselves in everything you
do and the choices that you make. If you
are someone who particularly values
promptness, for example, you will make
sure that you always behave in ways that
mean you are on time for appointments.
The thought of being late will stimulate
feelings of stress in you, and induce
a subsequent adrenaline rush as you
hurry to be at the appointment on time.
As a manager, it is important for you
to clarify your values, so that you can
determine what your goals are and
how you want to manage yourself
and others to achieve them.
Clarifying your
personal values
It may sound strange, but one of the
best ways to clarify your personal
values and gain a clear understanding
of what is important to you is to
think about how you would like to
be remembered in your eulogy. Sit
quietly and consider how you want your
friends and family to remember you,
and what you want your work colleagues
Values are stable and enduring beliefs about what is good, right, and
worthwhile, and about the behavior that is desirable for achieving what
is worthwhile. To be an effective manager, it is necessary to have a good
understanding of what your values are and to act accordingly.
to say they thought of you. Also think
of your broader contributions—how
would you like to be remembered in the
communities you are a part of? Make
notes, and use the information you
write down to identify the values that
are most important to you.
Dealing with conflicts
It can be challenging when your
personal values conflict with those
of your organization, or when there are
conflicting values between individuals or
subgroups. Value differences can exist,
for example, about how to perform jobs,
YES NOAbout your influences
1 Can I identify the individuals and the events that
influenced the development of my value system? .........................
2 Are these sources of influence still as important to me
as recent events and people who influence me now? ....................
3 Are my values still appropriate as guides of behavior
in the world I live in today? ..............................................................
4 Should I consider changing some of my values to make
them more relevant? .......................................................................
the nature of reward systems, or the
degree of intimacy in work relationships.
Having a clear understanding of your
own personal value set will help you
to manage these conflict situations. If
you are clear about your own values, you
can act with integrity and practice what
you preach regardless of emotional or
social pressure. To address a conflict
situation, first make sure you are aware
of, understand, and are tolerant of
the value differences held by the
other parties. This will help
you determine whether
the value conflict is, in fact,
irresolvable and will require
personnel changes, or
whether compromises
and adjustments
can be made to
the different
Values can be classified
into two types: terminal
and instrumental. Terminal
values (your “ends” in life) are
desirable ends or goals, such
as a comfortable, prosperous
life, world peace, great wisdom,
or salvation. Instrumental
values (the “means” to those
ends) are beliefs about what
behaviors are appropriate in
striving for desired goals and
ends. Consider a manager
who works extra hours to help
deliver a customer’s rush order.
The attitude displayed is a
willingness to help a customer
with a problem. The value that
serves as the foundation of
this attitude might be that
of service to others.
In focus

Get DK Essential Managers: Managing People now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.