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Authenticity in the workplace: Aligning work and personal values

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By Townes Haas   |    December 21, 2016   |    11:02 AM


How to Align Your Work With Your Personal Values

Is one of your resolutions to live more authentically in the New Year, especially at work?

It might sound like a pipe dream — is it even possible for work values to mesh with personal values? Thankfully, authenticity doesn’t have to stop at your office door. Here’s how you can challenge yourself and your team to align your organizational culture and personal values.

First, figure out your core set of personal values

If you don’t know what authenticity looks like to you, you’ll never be able to find that balance in your corporate life. Living authentically includes adhering to your personal values, but you also need to decide what those values are and what it looks like to live them.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What’s most important to me in life? My family? New experiences? Stability?

  • What do I want my personal life to look like? What experiences and activities are most important to me?

  • What brings me the most joy?

There are plenty of resources to help you determine these guiding principles, too. In Karissa Thacker’s book The Art of Authenticity, she explains how being your most authentic self will help you become a more effective leader. And because the book combines authenticity commentary with business skills like leadership, it’s a useful tool that can help you merge these two worlds.

What values exist in your business or office?

Once you have a clear idea about your core personal values, it’s time to assess the culture of your business (or office if you aren’t a business owner). If you’re an entrepreneur you have a great opportunity to make sure these values align, but thinking about office values is helpful for employees, too.

Give these questions some thought:

  • Do I enjoy my work and my career? Am I content or happy at work more often than not?

  • Do I feel challenged by my work? Is it important for me to feel challenged, or no?

  • Would I consider my work-life balance to be healthy?

  • Do I seem to share values with my coworkers and members of my team?

  • When I read my company’s mission/vision statement, does it resonate with me?

As you go through these questions and others, look for any glaring inconsistencies. If one of your key personal values is spending time with your family, and that means being home each night for dinner, ensure that your work complements that priority.

Identifying shared personal and corporate values

Now that you’ve identified both your work and personal values, see how things line up. Try to find common values where you can, too. For example, if you value helping others, a company policy of participation in community outreach efforts aligns well with your own values. Similarly, if your company goes above and beyond to help a customer, that’s another way your values might align.

As you go through these questions and exercises you might even find that you work and personal values are more in sync than you realized.

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