Communicating Your Core Values in Working Relationships

26 Aug

Understanding your personal values is key to making decisions about your future. Lately as I continue to participate in groups and collaborative projects I have begun to challenge myself to establish a set of core values that will guide me.

  • I value written communication. Although it is important to talk things through, if it cannot be articulated in writing I think the conversation needs to be revisited.
  • I value short pauses in communication. Overtime I have realized that I am not obligated to quickly retort all communications directed to me.
  • I value process. First and second drafts, step one and step two are important elements of my life.
  • I value collaborative consensus. Collaboration allows for diversity but the process of reaching consensus is important for sustainability.

The values that I have listed above are not the standard values for everyone in which I collaborate with. Discussing values is important when beginning to work with someone or a team.

Below are some suggestions for establishing a set of core values in your working relationships:

1- Agree that a set of core values needs to be discussed. So often we begin working relationships with people and do not start of on the right foot. If you wait until there is a conflict or a misunderstanding both parties become frustrated and struggle to find set commonalities that if already set in place, help extinguish the conflict.

2- Each party should list their values and its relevance to the upcoming project. You may have strong values about how to treat your parents or how to reprimand children, but if it is not relevant to the project do not list those values. This exercise is not meant to challenge your collaborator(s) but instead to create common language and focus that will guide the project.

3- Determine how you will revisit the values during conflict. You have the tools in place now it is time for you to use them. When you find yourself in conflict during your collaboration both parties must agree to share and be open. Trust (in the form of creative thinking, open dialogue, and communication) will crumble quickly if the conflict is not addressed. Rely on your values- for example if I were in conflict during a working relationship and I took two or three days to answer an email, when I respond I would relate my break to one of our agreed upon core values. I can reply- “I do apologize that it has taken me a while to return your message. As you know, I value short pauses in communication and in this case I needed time to address…..”

What are some of your values? How and when do you communicate those values in your working relationships?

Below is an article and a clip featuring Steve Jobs as he discusses the importance of knowing your core values.


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