People with strong, positive characters not only know their values, but make a point of acting on them. I would like to recommend reviewing the list of values compiled by The Foundation for a Better Life to decide which are most important, and to then lay out a plan to express them through everyday behavior.
Everyone should put their values to the test to make sure they are real and enduring, by asking themselves twelve questions:
1. Would I be tempted, even to a minor degree, to shade the facts?
2. What are my relationships like with my coworkers, team members, bosses and clients? Do I respect them and what they do? Have I ever wielded authority – at any level – in an inappropriate manner to make things easier or better for myself?
3. When the project is completed and successful, who gets the credit? Am I comfortable sharing the credit?
4. What happens if the job does not go well? Am I looking for someone to blame?
5. Am I comfortable engaging in a dialog with those who work with me? Am I genuinely interested in hearing opinions and ideas that are different from mine? Can I take criticism from those who work with me?
6. Am I comfortable sharing power and authority or do I want it all for myself?
7. Am I personally vested in my organization’s success or am I just putting in the time?
8. Do I probe to understand why and how things need to get done or am I simply pushing for immediate results?
9. Do I listen carefully to my coworkers, bosses, and clients, or just nod when others are talking?
10. Do my actions mirror my words and is my behavior consistent?
11. Am I ready and eager to start from scratch by meeting the challenges that come from each new assignment?
12. Can people trust me to support them? Do I empower them? Do they know and believe that I am there for them?
Based on the answers to these questions, anyone at any stage in a career can develop their own values statement. This is a precise, written declaration that can be referred to again and again in the process of character-building. While the process is not easy, the payoff is significant as the answers will define the scope of a person’s value set in great depth.
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