Courage: Live Into Your ValuesPosted on February 16, 2020

Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Values are principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.  In other words, a value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important.  Most leaders rarely focus on values because they do not make the investment of time and hard work it takes to identify their values.   Awareness or identification is only the first step.  Leaders also often fail to live out their values in their daily lives because of either a lack of courage to stand behind their core principles or to demonstrate the behaviors that align with their values.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Leaders with courage live into their values and are never silent about the hard things.  Courageous leaders are extraordinarily clear about their primary values and do more than profess them.  Courageous leaders live into their values by practicing them and making sure that their intentions, words, thoughts and behaviors align with their values.  Organizations need leaders to speak up and show up when things are tough.  When leaders are crystal clear about the values they hold, they are more willing to take actions that are uncomfortable or daring because of their beliefs and for what is right. 

How can you do it? 

Identify YOUR values. The first step to living into your values is to identify what is most important to you.  You can’t stay aligned with values if you haven’t spent any time getting curious about and naming what you care about most.  Sometimes it helps to see a list of sample values to get you started.  Keep working your list until you have narrowed down to the smallest amount possible – your core values.  These are the values you lean on when things are tough at home and work.  These are the few values that are the light that guides you out of the dark. 

Specify the behaviors that “live” each value. You can’t just profess your values, you must be intentional about what behaviors represent your values in action.  Take each value and define three or four behaviors that support the value and 3-4 “slippery behaviors.”  These behaviors are those you are tempted to do even if they are counter to each value. 

Share your values. Take the opportunity to share your core values with members of your team and support people in your life.  This openness extends trust to those closest to you and invites them to be there for you when you are living your values…and challenge you when you are not.  Post your values somewhere you can see them every day to remind you of what is important.  Regardless of how a “rumble” might turn out, give yourself some self-compassion when you stood up for your values.

How have you identified your values and how do you attempt to live into them in your daily life?  Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/leadership.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

1 Response

stewartk February 16th, 2020

My values and their relative priorities have changed over the course of my life. My current values, in order, are Truth, Goodness, Excellence, Relationships, Service, Teamwork, Wellness, Stewardship, Learning, Productivity, and Reflection. My greatest regret in life is the time I’ve wasted (and still waste) consuming entertainment instead of learning something useful and producing something of value consisent with these values.


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