Splitting Values and Hypocrisy?

An interesting thing about values is that not all values are equal, some are more important to us than others… (more on this in the next eNews)

Values by their very nature, and definition, are subjective. However the criteria by which we measure our values are based on observable behaviours, i.e. we measure subjective values based on observable facts!

Indeed two people with the same stated value may have wildly different criteria for measuring when this value has been met, or violated. So in any given situation the two people with the same may react completely differently. Thus two people may get different results with the same “core values”. Confused?

For example…One presenter with a strong value of respect may be overjoyed when an audience sits quietly and attentively listening to his presentation. Another presenter with the same respect value may expect his audience to show their respect to him by asking challenging questions and being involved in his presentation. He would therefore feel insulted by a quiet attentive audience and may feel despondent after presenting to such a group.

As well as different importance of values there are also different types of values. It is this difference in types of values which leads to accusations of hypocrisy.
When we speak of our core values we often use phrases like “our core values are….”

However core values are demonstrated EXTERNALLY to the world as Strategic values and INTERNALLY to the self or organisation as Process vsplit valuesalues. Again an example will demonstrate….

An organisation with a core value of “pride in working here” might have an externally expressed value of “customer satisfaction” or “Always Professional”or “Delivering Quality”. The same “pride in working here” core value might be expressed and demonstrated internally as “we respect our people” or “integrity first”.

Conflicts and confusion arise when our externally stated values do not align with our internal demonstration. From the example above it may be that the organisation treats its customers with respect but does not give respect to employees.

It can thus be more useful to measure our values by our demonstrated actions rather than the words we use! The old adage “what you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say” stands true with our values.

This principle of core, external strategic and internal process values applies equally to individuals as it does to organisations.

As individuals when we demonstrate our external values and internal values differently i.e. we treat others differently to the way we apply the values to ourselves, we are acting in a way which looks like we have double standards i.e. hypocritically! Think of Victorian England.

In a leadership context this inevitably leads to frustration amongst peers and staff. To be fully congruent and generate respect from others (and keep our self respect self) then both external and internal demonstrations of values need to have the same importance and emphasis – since both are expressions of the same core value.

To assist you to identify your core values and to be fully congruent in expressing and demonstrating them contact us Third Sigma International on 1300 766 092.

Want to work on your values privately? Download the Living Your Values Centred Life here. Download NOW.

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