As a young leader, being true to your values is essential.
Your values guide your decisions and actions, and they ultimately shape the kind of leader you are.
If you compromise your values, you are not being true to yourself or those who look up to you as a leader.
Here are tips for staying true to your values in leadership:
1.0 EXTRINSIC MOTIVATIONS
Driven by money
Extrinsic motivations are externally driven and often come from rewards like:
These external forms of motivation can be seductive but can also lead you astray from your values if you're not careful.
It's essential to be aware of extrinsic motivators to stay focused on what's truly important to you.
2. INTRINSIC MOTIVATIONS
Fig 2.0 Nelson Mandela driven to create a new South Africa
In contrast, intrinsic motivations come from within and are often related to:
Intrinsic motivators are more internal and usually relate to things that have meaning for you on a deeper level.
When you're driven by intrinsic motivators, staying true to your values is easier because you're motivated by things that align with yours.
3. HOW DOES YOUR LIFE STORY AFFECT YOUR VALUES
‘I am sorry, we can’t help you for now until we reduce the traffic on our COVID patients,’ the doctor reassured me.
3.0 The crucible of the writer
'Oh, God! How long will I be in this wheelchair? When can I have the corrective surgery? ' I inquired.
My whole world came crashing down as I realized that I would no longer be able to walk.
'God, why me? ' I asked!
I was 'trapped ' in the United States in an era of an unknown viral epidemic that brought the entire globe to its barest limits.
International borders, flights, and movement were all grounded.
The streets were deserted, forced to wear surgical masks!
Here I was most vulnerable with no medical insurance nor my family! Fear paralyzed me!
I have always been a driven person who would go after what I wanted with determination and tenacity.
4.0 The writer preparing for surgery
Now faced with a life-threatening challenge, I was determined to overcome it.
I eventually did! It became the beginning of my personal transformation.
The crucible that I went through changed me in many ways.
It made me realize the importance of intrinsic motivations and how they connected my values to my work. It also made me more aware that extrinsic motivations often distract us from our values.
I decided to apply these lessons to my career. I reassessed my strengths and weakness to find my sweet spot. With a new self-awareness of purpose, I discovered my love for sharing knowledge with young people. Young people have this zeal to consume knowledge, diverse, dynamic with loads of positive energy that bring out the best in me.
Having a genuine love role modeled to me in the United States by strangers with whom I had no relatedness, I became committed to sharing the love by helping young people become better leaders.
I freely gave the experience, knowledge, and training by creating articles, free virtual training programs, and modules.
My intrinsic value of making an impact birthed Advancing Youth Voice Initiative, a youth-led nonprofit empowering young people to participate in leadership, community service, and nation-building.
My story is a testament to the power of staying true to your values. When you know what you stand for, anything is possible.
4. DEFINE YOUR VALUES
One way to get in touch with your values is to think about a time when you faced a significant challenge—this is often referred to as your "crucible experience."
What did you learn about yourself during this challenging time? What values helped you get through it? Reflecting on experiences like this can clarify what's most important to you.
Once you've considered the experiences and influences that have shaped your values, it's time to define them. What do they look like in action?
Are they competence, relatedness, autonomy/praise, or fame? Money?
Getting clear on your values will help you make decisions that align with them—and make it easier to stay true to them when times get tough.
5. CONNECT YOUR VALUES TO YOUR WORK
It's one thing to know your values, but it's another to live them out in your work.
As a leader, staying true to your values means infusing them into your work daily.
How can you do this? One way is by looking for opportunities to put your values into action in the workplace.
Another way is by connecting with others who share your values and working together toward a common goal—this could be something as simple as starting a book club at work or volunteering for a local nonprofit.
6. MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Finally, remember that being a leader is about more than just achieving success for yourself—it's also about making a difference in the lives of others.
5.0 The birth of Advancing Youth Voice Initiative, a youth-led nonprofit
When you focus on positively impacting those around you, staying true to your values becomes more effortless.
They're no longer just abstract concepts; they're concrete ways of improving the world.
You don't have to save the world overnight—even small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the lives of those around you and help keep you grounded in what matters most.
Values are essential to who we are as leaders—they guide our decisions and actions and ultimately shape the kind of leader we become.
To be an effective leader, staying true to your values is essential.
This means being aware of the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations that drive you and connecting your values to your work.
It also means making a difference in the lives of others and putting your values into action daily. When you do all these things, staying true to your values becomes more effortless. And as a result, you'll become a more prosperous and impactful leader.