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Photo by available at The Selvedge Yard.

“If the organization I am trying to lead does not share my core values, should I leave?” In addition to doing a self-check on the principles I talked about in my last post, I would also recommend you do some research that will inform your decision. In particular, you should check your self-knowledge, your interpersonal knowledge, and your organizational knowledge.

Self-Knowledge

I’m talking here about checking your self-awareness. This is hard to do when you’re in the midst of a holistic decision, a decision engulfing mind, body, and emotions. When I once faced this kind of decision, I found it helpful to become a part of a group totally disconnected from my work environment. This provided me with an objective perspective and helped me gain a better picture of my own values and inner driving forces. Several great tools are also available to help you acquire self-knowledge. Three of my favorites are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Leadership Practices Inventory, and the Motivational Gifts Survey.

Interpersonal Knowledge

This has to do with your ability to work with people. In other words, instead of a genuine conflict of core values, you may lack skills associated with relating to others. This is often true of people who are elevated to a position of leadership based on their technical knowledge rather than their people skills. If this is the case, don’t panic. Instead, work on developing those people skills. Tons of self-help materials are available for this, but your best bet would be to hire a life coach for a period of time with the specific objective of developing your people skills.

Organizational Knowledge

By “organizational knowledge” I mean the non-personal forces affecting behavior in organizations. These include operating procedures, human resource policies, reward systems, authority structures, work processes, and government regulations. Do you understand how these organizational elements affect one another in your organization? In other words, there are times when an organization behaves a certain way, not out of personal values, but out of antiquated structures or policies no longer serving the purpose of the organization. Often, a movement toward a desired direction can be effected by tweaking these organizational dimensions.

Log jams are a major concern for loggers. Breaking up the jam can take days. I am told, however, that one log is often the key to dislodging all the others. Life’s decisions are often like log jams. Perhaps by considering carefully these three areas, you can dislodge the one log to start your organization flowing again toward a desired outcome reflecting your core values. There are times, however, when nothing works. I’ll talk about this in my next post.

(To be continued…)

This is the second installment of a three-part article. To get the full context of this discussion, you will want to check out Part I