“Something is not right here.”
“This work is de-energizing…draining, in fact.”
“I can’t seem to get motivated about this (job, client, project). What’s wrong with me? I am normally driven to achieve, and now, all I feel is apathy.”
“Details? They drive me nuts and slow my progress!”
“Lack of details? This drives me nuts and means we’re having to re-do work all the time.”
“I can’t support this in good conscience.”
“What I’m being asked to do is not a good fit.”
“This makes me angry.”
“My team member is not cooperating with me on this.”
“We can’t seem to agree on goals and priorities.”
Each of these statements have one thing in common, and it is this: their roots are grounded in a violation of strengths and values.
Occasional physical fatigue aside, if you or anyone on your team have these thoughts on a recurring basis, it is time to take notice. They are alarm bells that tell you that your strengths and/or values are not in alignment with what you are doing.
Can you ignore them?
But only for so long.
They will eventually surface in other areas. You may notice your office starts to become cluttered, your relationships start to feel an abnormal strain, your patience with co-workers wears thin, or your health is adversely affected.
Strengths and values are innate to who we are as individuals. Violating them can have substantial side effects.
How can you prevent the side effects of strengths and values misalignments for yourself and your team?
Define your values as a company.
Do yourself and your future employees a favor and define your top five company values. Each company has a unique culture. Some companies are very structured and regulated. Some are free-flowing, with flexible hours, open creative spaces, and very loose structure. One model is not superior to another, but the cultures are highly reflective of the company values. These two ends of spectrum illustrate why knowing the values of the company is essential for employees. Putting a highly structured person into the free-flowing environment would cause undue stress – on the company, the leader, the team, and the individual. Likewise, hiring someone who is accustomed to coming and going at will and creating out-of-the-box ideas to work for a highly structured organization would create a rift.
If you present your company values during the interview process, it helps both you and the prospective employee know if you will be good fit for each other.
Delegate the work based on the strengths of each individual.
There are natural strengths that are innate to an individual. Some people are more task-oriented, and some are more people-oriented. Some are introverts, some are extroverts. Crossing the wires can result in shocking results. For example, assigning an introverted, task-oriented individual to a role where they are dealing with high numbers of people on a daily basis could result in anxiety issues or an occasion where they become angry with a customer. Their anger could be rooted in a violation of their introverted strengths.
The same could happen if you place an extroverted, people-oriented individual in a routine, rote, mundane role. At the least, there will be a high level of errors. In a more extreme situation, they may lash out at co-workers in anger or leave the company entirely.
If, however, you wire each of these individuals into the correct role for their strengths, you may find you have a highly effective systems person and the most amazing customer service and sales representative already in your organization. Before you hire your next position, check to see if you have someone in the organization with the strengths to fill it. Here’s a hint: This could possibly be a person who is causing issues in their current position because it is not a good fit.
Plan your growth goals in alignment with values.
Organizations change…every day, every month, every quarter, every year. And they should change. But values should never be compromised for growth. Companies who do this stand to lose their most valuable assets: the people who supported the company because of a values match and the customers who funded it because of a values match. If you change your values, you affect your core branding.
This is the time of year when companies are planning for the next year. While this year has reminded everyone that even the best of plans can be tested by circumstances, it has also shown that solid values will sustain a company through such circumstances. The means may change, but the values are foundational.
Take some time in the next two weeks to check in on values. Are they clearly defined for you as the leader and for your company as a whole? Does your team know what those values are? Are there members of your team for whom those values are a misfit? And, lastly, are your team members placed according to their strengths?
Before you set goals for the new year, spend some time on the foundation first. Then, build from there.
For more resources on how you can increase communication, collaboration, and leadership across your organization, click here to learn about the Communication Impact Report and Workshop for leaders and their teams.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.