May 2018 – Question of the Month
May 16, 2018 - By Peter Jordan, Associate, BA History, Geography and Environmental Science, BA Hons History
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Question of the Month: I understand that to gain and retain legitimacy as a leader I need be values-driven, but I also need my job to support my family. What if retaining my job and acting in accordance with values are in conflict?
Answer: A leader who is seen to be driven by needs rather than by values will lose the trust of reports and hence her legitimacy as a leader. Therefore ultimately there can be no compromise.
However, before recklessly resorting to resignation, the following should be carefully considered:
- Are you certain that standing up for a value will jeopardise your job or is this just an assumption? Try testing the waters, initially in a safe environment.
- Is the disagreement in question really values-based or is it about strategy or tactics? If it is the latter, the appropriate course of action is to put forward the alternative, but if this is not successful, to abide by the majority/managerial decision and have the courage to own this down the line.
- Are two values in conflict here and, if so, which has the most gravity? For example, someone who reports to you has gone the extra mile and the appropriate thing to do is to reward him. However your senior management states that there are simply no funds available to do so. Perhaps in this instance the reward may be delayed.
Ultimately a leader needs to be guided by the “little voice inside” and if this is causing discomfort, to take the courageous decision to do what is appropriate.