As managers of people, we need to decide what it is we value. We also need to ensure that our values are rightly ordered to ensure that we are treating our people, and the organizations we work for properly.

If we value things like power, prestige, and recognition then are we really serving our employees and organizations in the right way?

How can we serve others if our values are self-centered? That isn’t to say there is anything wrong with wanting to be recognized and rewarded for the work we do. We should want these things. But if they become the overriding motivation for what we do then the people will get lost in our desires.

When we lose sight of the people we end up damaging relationships. All our actions as managers are dependent on relationships and serving others. It is the value of these relationships that lead to individual and organizational success.

So we have to begin with right values. I challenge you to sit down right now and make a list of what your career and personal values are. Maybe it would help to provide a definition.

For the sake of this article, we will define value as “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life” (source).

What is important in life to you? What are the underlying principles that guide you?

I believe that every individual has intrinsic value and that every individual brings their own value to whatever group they belong to. In addition, we are all deserving of respect and the right to explore our own strengths in a manner that allows us to achieve our greatest end.

As a manager, I hold the principle that I have a duty to serve both the organization that I work for and the people that I am tasked with managing.

With these values as my guide, I formulate how I will deal with and interact with the members of my team. And I hope they help me to treat all the people I deal with in a manner of respect and dignity.

Values help us to form a view of the world and the people around us. They act as guides to help us act in a consistent manner. But if we never take the time to consider our values in a deep and meaningful way then we are guided by nothing but our feelings in the moment.

Sit down today and take some time to write down the things that you value. Then consider if you are acting in a manner that is consistent with those stated values, and if not then what are you going to do to change that?