Keith Lewis) on values and principles. Patti is Senior Manager of Client Services at Hahn Public Communications.
The Power of Being Vulnerable
In our most recent EMERGE class we engaged in one of the best exercises I've ever experienced: we were told to write our top ten core values—what is most enduringly important to us. Then we were told to prioritize our core values. Then, to take our top five and write guiding principles that encapsulated how we embody those values.
Then we were told to turn to the two people next to us and share what we had written.
It was unnerving to say the least. In each EMERGE class my boundaries have been pushed a bit further and I've been urged to think about who I am and what drives me, and how those underlying motivations affect my daily life and the way I approach any situation. This particular exercise was especially challenging because we got really personal. Really fast.
After being told that we had to share our ten core values and five guiding principles, there was a noticeable pause in the room. We all felt vulnerable. But we shared what we had written, and afterward the consistent feedback was we were happy we had not known we'd be sharing what we wrote until after we wrote it. The safety in thinking it was for our eyes only kept us honest, but then sharing something so personal with classmates we've only known a few short weeks was enlightening and motivating.
The exercise of discovering what beliefs guide me—my core values—showed me the connection between my personality and my priorities. I realized that while my core energy does drive my approach to life, my values shape my intentions. We all have the choice to move through life aimlessly, but if we want to be truly effective leaders, we must be intentional.
After discovering I’m an Evangelist—someone always guided by a cause and focused on action—I started to notice my core energy being expressed in situations where previously I never would have given a second thought to why I responded the way I did. It almost felt empowering in a negative manner, because suddenly I had justification for always wanting to focus on deliverables rather than "wasting time" on small talk with coworkers or clients. But building relationships with coworkers and colleagues, along with several other priorities of the Relater core energy, is important (I keep reminding myself, even though my core energy would have me think otherwise), and it’s an area where I now realize I need to make more of an effort.
Knowing our own strengths and weaknesses based on our core energy allows us to recognize them and use them both to be more effective. Identifying our core values and using them to guide our decisions allows us to find our individual purpose and become leaders who create meaningful impact. And sometimes all it takes to get started is the willingness to be vulnerable.
NOTE: The opinions of Leadership Austin alumni, faculty members, and guest bloggers are their own, and do not represent an official position of the organization. If you would like to learn more about the Evangelist and Relater core energy concepts mentioned above, please take a look at this free Siminar on "The Human Fabric" from author and facilitator Bijoy Goswami.