Values we advocate

Values are different to beliefs. They are tangible qualities that we define as important to the choices we make, the people we frequent, the way we work and live. Values come in all varieties. Philosophical, practical, professional, personal. How does a value come to be? Are we influenced by others thereby adopting their values as our own? Are we deeply connected to an inner compass, that somehow tells us which values to advocate? If the latter, we are prone to seek out like-minded value systems, in people, in work, in relationships, in the community.

Easier said than done. Since values when scrutinised or put to the test may have different meanings for different people. Take ‘respect’, as a common value advocated in the work place. Whether it’s a value posted on a company’s web site or an unspoken practice amongst leaders, colleagues and staff, it may fall short of being genuinely lived and breathed.

Some years ago in Gamelan Team Building workshops I ran in partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra, we examined the value of respect in a team. Its dictionary definition is awe-inspiring: < Feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements >.

How accurately do we apply this definition when we go around ‘respecting’ our bosses, colleagues, and staff? Do we pay it lip service or actually feel that deep admiration for others, even amidst the pressures of day to day stresses and frustrations?

If respect is a value we adhere to, then surely we must shine a light on the abilities, qualities and achievements of others, so we can display our deep admiration. More often it would appear, the line of sight is narrow, and people are noticed for their shortcomings, their mistakes, their deficiencies. Hard to respect the negative aspects. Unless of course we see these as opportunities to widen the view for the positive aspects to be included, and elevated. As such they have a chance to elicit deep admiration. Which in turn creates a more supportive, productive, creative environment. Respect!

© Amanda Yensa Manor 2015

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