Use the Skills and Enjoy the Benefits
by Kelly Patrick Gerling, Ph.D. © 2000
Published in The Spinal Column, Nelson-Marlborough Health
Services, Nelson New Zealand, September, 1999
A number of my clients continue to make a commitment to implement Values-Based
Leadership (or VBL) in their organisations. To help others learn from their
experiences, I would like to share some ways of using VBL and some of the
benefits of doing so.
VBL is a model of leadership designed to help anyone in an organisation
become a more effective leader - that is, a leader who contributes to the
fulfillment of important values . . . values like trust and respect, dignity
and cooperation, caring and service.
Based on my observations and experiences with many different kinds of
organisations, there are a number of key ways of using VBL and clear benefits
of doing so. (If you are not familiar with the processes in the VBL model,
take a look at the VBL skills menu.)
As people get training in VBL, they begin to apply the inner and outer
processes in day-do-day situations. Here are some of the ways people use
- When there is something preventing you from doing your job with the
quality you would like, you can request help, get heard, and give others
a chance to give you the support you need.
- If you are hesitant to bring up an unresolved issue with your boss,
you can overcome your hesitancy with the courage that comes from activating
your integrity and self-respect and by assuming that the other person will
respect you enough to listen to your request.
- If you feel unappreciated and that your work seems unimportant and
unrecognized, you can request a discussion and then ask about the benefits
of your contributions, or those of your group.
- If you are a boss, you can proactively inquire about the status of
relationship issues and values within your group, listen with empathy to
what people say and respond when you can help.
- When you get complaints or negativity coming your way, you can accept
that the underlying reason for this is that the person's reasonable, healthy
values are in some way being violated.
- When someone does a good job, you can express your appreciation to
them, whether they are a peer, a subordinate, someone in another group,
or your boss. Tell them what you noticed about what they did and how you
benefit from it.
- If you do something that violates the values of someone else, you can
apologise to that person by recognising the pain you caused, saying you
are sorry, promising to do your best not to repeat what you did and ask
for forgiveness. Then keep your promise.
- If you are stressed, angry or upset about something, you can pause,
do some healing, and expand thinking, before talking with the person who
can help to solve the problem. That will help you to behave professionally
while still being completely honest.
- If members of your group fail to deal with important issues and people
are gossiping about it, you can engage in a group conversation to clear
the air, voice each person's concerns and seek solutions to the problems.
- When you have a problem you can ask your boss for a VBL session. If
you don't get that issue resolved with your boss, you both can seek help
from your boss's boss or from the organisation's VBL facilitators (if you
have them). The organisation may be able to help you and your boss resolve
that conflict to create a triple-win for you, your boss and the whole organisation.
These are just a sampling of the many kinds of situations where you can
demonstrate leadership to fulfill values.
Benefits of VBL
There are quite a few immediate benefits of using VBL which help make
this kind of leadership rewarding to you:
- By expanding your thinking, VBL can help you to increase your leadership
intelligence while you challenge your old ways of approaching situations.
- By enhancing your communi-cating, VBL can help you improve your relationships
while you solve day-to-day problems.
- By fulfilling personal and organisational values, VBL can help you
to feel better on the job, as well to enable you help others feel more
fulfilled and less stressed too.
- By resolving problems where important values are violated, VBL can
help you prevent an organizational "infection" where painful
feelings fester and victim cycles expand. In this kind of situation, VBL
works like the immune system of the organisation - it becomes a set of
processes to identify and heal threats to the health of the whole. That
enables the organisation, by opening feedback loops, to practise its values
and to create and maintain a more healthy, more productive culture.
While VBL provides these kinds of immediate benefits, the growth of greater
savvy and expertise in these leadership skills makes them even more easy
and fun to use. VBL skill development is much like skill development in
a sport like golf, or the skill development of learning to play a musical
instrument - advanced skills come from the patient discipline of preparing,
practising, and rehearsing. And using these skills gets easier and more
fun, as you get better at them.
I hope you will take advantage of the benefits of VBL for developing
leadership skills. In doing so, you help your organisation become an even
better place to work, AND you make YOUR worklife more fulfilling and less
What to Do Now
There are a couple of ways you can get help with learning and using VBL
processes. One way is to participate in a VBL workshop held in your area.
Another way is to bring VBL facilitation and leadership development into
your organisation. To explore either option, e-mail Kelly Gerling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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