How To Take A Stand For Your Values
There comes many times during a leader’s career and life where they must make a decision that goes against “conventional wisdom”, that is contrary to the voice of the masses, and even downright unpopular.
These times of intersection between outside pressure and the leader’s knowledge of what actually needs to be done can define a career, an organization, and perhaps the long term survival of organizations.
Here are some ways to help you as a leader make a stand for what you know to be the right course of action:
- Have conviction of your values. Whether your own personal values or that of the organization you’re a part of, knowing them, adopting them as your own, and living them will give you a baseline on which to measure your integrity. To stray away from these values is to betray your authority and credibility. Make every decision congruent to what you’ve committed to uphold. Examine your own motives and make sure that you’re not being self-serving, but looking out for the greater good of others that your decisions will impact.
- Communicate and educate others in the mission. If done right, your mission should be aligned with your values. In order to do this, you’ll need to promote both of these continually, as well as at the crisis time where the hard decision is to be made. In communicating, you must educate and explain the “why” of these and help everyone understand the essentials of keeping to the core values.
- Do your research and be prepared with facts. Many times you’ll be faced with opinion and feeling rather than facts. Doing your homework is critical at this stage, and will help counter false information and faulty logic. When other voices deal mostly in the “I feel” or “We’re afraid” or other subjective language, you will know that you have the hard data that cannot be refuted that will stand on its own merits without your input.
- Involve others that build credibility to the cause. Both within and without your organization, circles of influence, and industries, you’ll find many that can corroborate the facts and the trajectory of where you should be headed. By finding experts in the field, you will not only have other strong and like-minded voices, you will build a credible team that will support what you know to be the right course of action.
- Ignore the noise. We live in an age where even the most foolish thinking can have a significant voice through various mediums. Just because these opinions may generate traction and favorable public opinion, if they are not based on facts and in line with the proper values, they should not be given any more consideration than needed for honest debate. Minimize the noise and engage dissenting opinions in their proper context.
- Make the decision through proper channels. Sometimes you need to be creative in how you get your message across, but to circumvent proper methods in order to get the desired result will water down the effectiveness of making a stand. It is never a good idea to do wrong in order to do right. Be careful in pushing through the right actions so as not to takeaway from what you’ve worked hard to accomplish.
- If you need to stand alone, then stand alone. A great many leaders have been ostracized because of their convictions, only to be later installed in a greater capacity because of what they have stood for. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. Make the decision. stay true to your convictions, and rest easy at the end of it all.
The leader who can be open and not ashamed of their decisions will set the tone for others to follow suit as well. By taking a stand for what is true, honest, just, pure, and of good reputation, you can bring stability and success to the cause and have a clear conscience of the impact you have made in the well-being of many others.