HR Training Consultant/Owner Mindful Managing
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How company values can help managers get the best from their team

20th Aug 2019
HR Training Consultant/Owner Mindful Managing
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business meeting with a happy smiling team
iStock/filadendron

In the second instalment of a two-part feature, Stephanie Evans looks at how managers can use company values as a tool to improve team performance, whilst engaging and motivating individuals at the same time. 

In the first instalment, I outlined why values are the foundation of company culture and how to go about growing these values in your organisation, so what comes next? Once you have established your company values, the key to them becoming the foundation of your company culture is to embed them in everything you do.

One area where it can make a significant difference is with your managers. Managers have the challenging but rewarding job of getting the best from their people so that the business gets the best results.

This is not the easiest thing to do, as I am sure you realise.

We are dealing with human beings, and being the complex creatures we are, we’re all individual and unique but also want to be part of a group, without our uniqueness or individuality being smothered. For a team manager this is quite a challenging.

This is where your company values come into their own. There are several everyday management conversations where you can use your company values to enable the conversation and reduce the challenge that often occurs

Expectations

Right from the beginning you can use values to make the expectations clear – the expectations you have as their manager of them, that the business has as their employer and what they expect from you as their manager.

If you have introduced your company values thoroughly as part of the induction process, then you will already have the common language with which to have these conversations.

Using the language of values during these conversations means that you are less likely to be misunderstood or for perceptions to cloud the conversation.

Feedback

This is a funny old word – throughout my career in HR this has been a common training request from managers and the one thing that they and staff in general avoid like the plague.

Why? Well, usually it’s because they are unsure how to phrase what they want to say without causing offence, losing their temper or fumbling their words and bottling out.

Having your company values as the external reference gives you a tool to use to identify and develop the future behaviour that will help the individual progress.

Having a feedback structure like STAR or SBI and then relating your feedback to the values as you structure it means that you are far less likely to fall into one of the potholes on the feedback road.

Saying ‘that doesn’t demonstrate our value of xxx’ is far less likely to illicit a defensive response than ‘that behaviour is unacceptable’ or ‘that was stupid’.

Career development

Values are a great tool to support an individual’s development in their current role or to grow their career.

If you are using values in appraisals and measuring performance against them, you will highlight areas where an individual is high performing and where they have room for improvement.

When it comes to developing behaviour, this is a challenge, as changing your natural behaviour is far harder and takes far longer than learning new knowledge or skills.

Also, having to ask someone to improve their behaviour is a very difficult conversation as it is very personal.

Values mean that when you need to have performance management conversations you can de-personalise the unwanted behaviour.

By using the values as your reference rather than the individuals you can easily separate the behaviour form the person. We are not our behaviours.

Having your company values as the external reference gives you a tool to use to identify and develop the future behaviour that will help the individual progress.

Team development I’m a great believer in playing to people’s strengths and not beating them up about the things they are not so good at. That’s why we have teams – so we can all perform at our best.

Using values alongside a high performing team development tool will enable you to understand your people fully and enable you and them to work to their highest level of performance by focusing on their strengths.

Performance management

As with feedback and career development, values mean that when you need to have performance management conversations you can de-personalise the unwanted behaviour demonstrated by referring to it in values terms.

The same applies when you have a high performer – using the values as the reference tool for the high performing behaviours demonstrated means that you can signpost them to future opportunities whilst embedding the values still further.

In summary, company values are a significant tool for managers in a business to enable them to get the best from their people whilst maintaining engagement and motivation, even when feedback for improvement is required.

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By PSBare
21st Aug 2019 02:40

Thanks Stephanie for your sharing your insights. Two great posts.

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