Communicate Your Values

We begin developing our values from a young age and deciding what things are important to us. All of us have our own set of values. For example, some people might value friendships, hard work, dedication, integrity and honesty while others may value assets, perfection, self-improvement and status.

Values can make or break a supervisor. Successful supervisors understand their values and continue to develop them throughout life. According to Dr. Scott Williams, “Attention to our values helps us become more self-aware, make ethical decisions, prioritize tasks, and develop credibility as a leader.”

Many supervisors have lost their jobs, trust from employees, or opportunities for not upholding their declared values or display values that are contrary to company values. Successful supervisors often share the same values as the company they work for; indeed, that can be the thing that makes successful leaders stand out. Most organizations have a mission statement, which describes the company’s values. For example, you can find out what Google values by visiting their website and reading, “Ten things we know to be true.”

You’ll discover that the end user, quality, speed, democracy, relaxed work environment, continuous improvement and creativity are key aspects of Google’s mission. They believe these values are what have made them so successful.

In your new role as a supervisor you will want to take the time to clarify your values. Communicate your values to employees and make sure you “walk the walk.” This can be difficult because many people have not taken the time to think about what is important to them, much less communicate these values to a group.

If you aren’t sure where to begin consider taking a few minutes to organize your thoughts with these questions in mind. Why do I want to be a supervisor? What challenges may I face? What aspects of the job inspire me? What are my values in relation to my job? Write the answers down and craft them into a position statement, personal values statement or credo. Now you can share this with your employees and it provides you with a guide for future reference.

That’s all there is to it… know your values, communicate your values, lead by example, and continue to grow by doing so you will instill similar values in your employees and be on your way to a successful future.

Dr. Williams, S. Clarifying and Applying Personal Values: Priorities and Integrity. Wright State University. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from

Essential Skills for New Supervisors. National Institute of Corrections.