Are you practicing leadership based on values?
Leaders in all industries, including construction, are like icebergs.
Only about 10% of who we really are is visible. Our behaviors. Our actions. Our interactions with others.
The other 90% that truly defines us lies beneath the surface: our values and beliefs, our needs and our fears.
All of the character that runs at all times under the surface of who we are is invisible to the outside world.
And yet what runs beneath the surface is what ultimately defines us as leaders. our foundation. Our core. It shapes every action we take, every perspective we hold, and every relationship we build with our teams, our clients, and all those around us.
The truth of leadership based on values has significant implications for every construction executive, project leader, and supervisor.
Merely acquiring more skills is not enough.
Techniques for team building, communication, problem-solving, change management. These are all critically important, but they are not what truly defines the effectiveness of a construction leader.
First and foremost, what is essential in every leader is self-awareness. The willingness to examine oneself deeply, acknowledge where we fall short or are out of alignment, and take action to improve.
The highest performing construction leaders are those who create a healthy habit of evaluating whether their focus, actions and pursuits are consistent with what is going on underneath the surface of who they are.
That reflective work begins with an assessment of what is most important to us as leaders – an examination of who we are and the values we embrace.
If all this “leadership based on values” stuff sounds a little intense, it does not need to be. But, it is important.
It is about asking ourselves how we want to experience our work and our life? How do we truly love to work? How do we relate and interact best with others? What do we want to stand for as leaders in the office or on the jobsite.
For example, if we want to be a leader who effectively engages with others, then we ought to be asking ourselves what it is about relating with others that we truly value?
Do we enjoy engaging face-to-face with people? Or, interacting in groups to wrestle with issues and solve problems? Do we find meaning and value in connection with others while we work?
Or are we passionate about pouring ourselves into our own thoughts – investigating and analyzing complex questions from the quiet solitude of our own minds – before offering those perspectives to others?
The attributes, or values, define the way in which we want to go about our work and our lives. They define what is truly important to us and give us the most meaning in our experience of life and leadership.
The true work of leadership based on values is aligning how we spend our time, how we act and behave on the outside, with the distinct and unique values we hold underneath the surface.
When we find that alignment as leaders is when we find a real sense of purpose, of clarity and of true confidence.
To begin the work of finding your true alignment as a leader, ask yourself these questions:
- In life, not just at work, what is truly important to me?
- How does the way I go about my leadership in the office and on the jobsite align with or diverge from what is truly important to me?
- What specific, meaningful and doable change could I make today to better align the way that I do leadership with the way I truly want to do life?
When we begin to ask ourselves these questions, we can begin to align our outer construction leader with our inner life.
Our most transformative growth as leaders happens there.