What do you stand for? What are the values by which you operate? The Center for Ethical Leadership defines ethical leadership as "Knowing your core values and having the courage to act on them on behalf of the common good."
This self guided core values exercise will help you clarify your Core Values. This exercise may be harder than it seems and is best done quietly on your own.
The process will involve you selecting and discarding values. This does not mean that some values are worth nothing to you, only that some are more important than others. The few that you end up with are called your Core Values. The following process of weeding out will help you to determine your personal Core Values.
- Review all of the values on the following page. Notice at the bottom there are some blank lines. Feel free to add in the blanks any value words that are important to you but not listed.
- Put a check beside all the value words that are important to you, including any you may have added.
- From your list of checked items narrow the list to eight by crossing off less important ones. Take no more than 2-3 minutes to do this.
- Then narrow the list to three to five words.
The value words you pick need to be the root value word. Value words like integrity, honesty, and truth sound similar. One way to determine the root is to ask yourself, "If I acted on one value, would it cover the others?"
For example, I could tell the truth or be honest without demonstrating integrity. ie. Telling someone for the first time you don't like them in front of a group of people: (It may be the truth but it wouldn't demonstrate integrity.) However, could you demonstrate integrity and not tell the truth? Generally you could not demonstrate integrity and lie, with the rare exception of the death bed confessions. Therefore, Integrity is the root value. Note that Truth and Honesty can be included as behaviours in the next part of the exercise.
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