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8 Benefits Of Identifying Your Values

8 Benefits Of Identifying Your Values

What does the word value mean to you? Can you define it?

Values are what you believe matter most in life. Everyone’s values are different. Some common values are love, success, friendship, intelligence, and respect.

As children, our parents and teachers pass values on to us and we live our lives based on what they’ve taught us is important, be that kindness, friendship, listening, etc. But as adults we must determine what is of most value to us on our own. Some of the values from childhood may stay the same, but you may realize that others have become increasingly more important as you have grown and changed. Tolerance, gratitude, and family, for example, may be of huge significance to you now.

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So, without further ado, here are 8 benefits of identifying your values.

1. Values help you find your purpose.

Have you already figured out the purpose of life? If not, as is the case for most of us, values can help answer the all-encompassing question, “What is my purpose in life?” You can’t expect to know what you want out of life if you don’t know what is important in life. Knowing what you value gets you that much closer to an answer. Think about it.

2. Values help you react in difficult situations.

Values are guiding principles for behavior. They can help ensure you behave in a way that matches who you want to be at your core. People often react quickly in situations, especially difficult ones, and they don’t always take the time to think about what they are doing before they do it. You can use your values to reflect on situations, too, to decide, for example, if you need to apologize for something. What a helpful little tool!

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3. Values help you make decisions.

When you come across the need to make a decision, your values can help you make the right call. Sometimes emotions get in the way of good decision making, but if you stop to ask yourself, “What would someone who values X do in this situation?” then you just might be able to come to a more clearheaded, less emotionally-affected decision.

4. Values help clear out clutter.

Do you ever want to eliminate excess baggage from your life? Identifying your values will help you rule out the things you really do not want, need or believe are important. People are consumed with so much these days. Weed the time- and energy-wasting things out of your life!

5. Values help you choose the right career.

All career paths come with pros and cons, we know that. But when you know what matters most to you, you can be sure you are choosing the right career path. If you value connection, interaction, and friendship, for example, then it’s possible a work-at-home job may not be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you value travel, wealth, and conversation, then maybe a traveling sales job is perfect for you. Sometimes knowing your values can even help you determine if a promotion is the best idea for you. Who knew saying no to a promotion could be a good idea?

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6. Values help you develop a sense of self.

Knowing your values means you can develop strong opinions about important subjects. You don’t want to just believe what your parents believed. You can’t just say you believe you what your friends believe. You need to figure out what you truly believe, and then you can share your honest self with others. This is important!

7. Values help increase your confidence.

Identifying your values increases your level of confidence because it brings about a sense of stability and safety to your life. When you know what you want, it doesn’t matter what other people want. When you know what is important to you, it doesn’t matter what is important to other people. This will naturally bring a sense of confidence to your life.

8. Values help your overall happiness level.

If you combine the results from benefits one though seven, then you have likely improved your life. You’ve developed a purpose, reacted better in difficult situations, made good decisions, found the right career, developed opinions, and increased your confidence. It’s fair to say you might just feel a little happier!

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If you’ve never identified your values before, here’s a quick how-to guide to get you going on your process.

Make a big list of values (love, achievement, trust, compassion, wealth, honor, appreciation, etc.) or use a page like this. You can set a timer if you want, but it’s not necessary. As you read through, circle the ones that pop out at you—the ones that you feel are part of you. You can mark as many as you’d like at the start, but after you have your initial list, try to cross off the ones that don’t seem quite as important to you. Aim to get the list down to 10 or 15 values. Put these in order of importance if you can. Ta-da! Now you have your Top 10 (or 15) values. Don’t worry, though, values are not static. They change and evolve with us as we grow.

Here are my ever-evolving Top 10 values as of February 2014: love, family, personal development, integrity, honesty, acceptance, gratitude, laughter, kindness, and education.

What are yours?

Featured photo credit: al shep via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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