Should I give up my values for the sake of the team?

Note: This was originally published in an other website called THINKsulting which I am phasing out.

Ashwin asks:

“I’m sure you’re well experienced in leading a team and currently I’m in a big quandary. How far does one give in to their own values in order for a team to work? For me, leadership is about garnering followership and working with a team to get to a common goal. But when there comes a point where you have to forgo a lot of your values in order for the team to “work”, what do you do?”

My Take:

Ashwin, without the specifics of knowing what “values” you are “sacrificing” for the sake of the team, I have to answer this at a very high level. So please apply this to your own situation accordingly.

My first request to you is to do an exercise to identity your values clearly. How do you do that? You can follow a simple exercise that is outlined in one of my blog posts:

Ways to Distinguish Yourself #9 – Know Your Values

My second request to you is to do a similar exercise to identify the values for your team.

You will notice that while your team values may not be exactly the same as your individual values, rarely will they be TOTALLY divergent. Just in case they are DIVERGENT, the team can’t stay as a team for a long time.

In case you feel that you ARE indeed sacrificing your “core” values for the sake of your team, you need to revisit the reason why you took this job in the first place. Your values are what you identify with and when your work is taking you away from them, you are almost living two lives – one at work and one outside work.

The fact that you brought this question up shows that you are noticing a disconnect and it is best to address it head on.

Wish you the very best Ashwin. Please take care.