Recently for PSEL, I was asked to identify my top 5 personal values. I had to chuckle a little bit at this assignment, as this is something I do with my students in first year seminar. In that case, I ask the students to identify their values as the beginning of an assignment that instills a process for ethical decision-making. Students use their values to help them make decisions in common business cases where moral judgments are involved.
It was interesting to do this on my own. While I had a good sense of my personal values, I never spent much time thinking about how they apply to a leadership context. Obviously, I imagine that many of us look for others to add to our teams and professional contacts who share our values.
After I worked through the self reflection activities for this assignment, I wasn’t surprised by my top result. Integrity has always been a high priority when making connections, both professionally and personally. Qualities of honesty and sincerity are coveted characteristics in friendship, and also translate to the workplace. No one wants to work for, or manage, a person who has low integrity.
My other results were interesting. As I was reading through, I realized I hadn’t taken the time when doing this activity with my students to really reflect on my responses now that my lifestyle has shifted. It was interesting for me to see that I actually ranked “Comfortable Life” over “Adventure.” In the past, I have always sort of focused on making sure I had enough new and challenging experiences to help me grow. Now though, I own a house and have cultivated a life separate from my work that, with the benefit of reflection, I realize I would very much like to maintain. That’s not to say that personal growth and challenge aren’t important or that I don’t want to pursue those types of goals. Rather, I think I’m starting to appreciate the true meaning of “don’t live to work, work to live.” Knowing how I used to view my career in relation to other parts of my life, this is a sort of personal growth achievement in itself.