Friday, 9 August 2013

Values Based Leadership – Part II

This will probably only make sense if you read Part I, but even then I’m not sure it will.  In general the concept of Values Based Leadership assumes that we all have certain values that we feel particularly passionate about.  Your values may be social justice, or tolerance, or intimacy, or accomplishing something, or honesty or hard work, etc.  The theory is that you will be best motivated when one or more of your values are met. 

For example let’s assume that your highest held value is honoring God in whatever you do.  That value is at the top of your Top Five Values list.  Let’s further assume that accomplishing something important is number five on your list.  Though it is at the bottom of your top five list, as a value it is still critically important to you.  In fact, so important that if you were offered an opportunity to do something that honored God but you felt was an inconsequential task you would most likely decline the opportunity. So the least important of your top five values will ultimately determine whether you are motivated by the opportunity.  If your number five value is either satisfied or not a relevant consideration then your number four value would become the deciding factor, etc.  Often high capacity men stay on the side lines at church because the opportunities to serve that are presented to them don’t satisfy the lowest relevant value.

Whether you are motivated or not motivated to do a particular task or to make a particular commitment is predicated on whether or not your values are fulfilled, beginning with the least important on your list of top values.

By knowing what your husband/wife truly values you can save a lot of needless emotional angst by making sure that as you propose something you are taking into account their values and yours.  If frugality is one of your values and the only way to meet your spouse’s value criteria is to spend far more money than you are comfortable spending then you will be most unhappy.  As a Christian couple this will necessitate a self examination to be sure money has not become an idol to you given your strong desire to save and that possessions have not become an idol for your spouse given their propensity to spend.
This concept can also apply to identifying negative behaviors and realizing that some deeply held belief is driving certain feelings which are manifesting themselves in your “inappropriate” behavior.  The heart is at the heart of our values and beliefs.  Only the Holy Spirit can change our hearts.  By identifying the belief or value that is causing your misguided behavior you can repent and ask God to intervene

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Values Based Leadership – Part I

My son recently introduced me to a concept which I found helpful in understanding why I respond to certain things the way I do, why I’m motivated by some things and irritated by others.  The concept is known as Values Based Leadership in corporate America.

A hidden force behind our decisions Our personal values at work help us determine what is and isn’t worthwhile for us. They have a great influence on our decisions and long term directions. They’re our prime motivators and source of inspiration, and sometimes override what others expect of us. However, most people are not aware of their most important personal values. When people know their most important personal values, they develop a much deeper understanding of what it takes to be inspired. That often stimulates ideas about how to motivate and inspire themselves and others.

What are personal values?  Personal values are standards or principles that have a major influence on our thinking, feeling, behavior and results.  Some examples range from the abstract, i.e. happiness, respect and integrity, to the more concrete, i.e. efficiency and a sense of accomplishment.  Personal values can also be short phrases like “Making a difference” or “Doing the right thing”

The most abstract values like “Inner peace,” “Happiness” and “Feeling good” are almost always the most important. Our choices of values are influenced by our genetics and our life experiences in family, schools, relationships, religion, and other contexts. Values and their importance can change over time as a result of significant emotional experiences and life transitions

Where does Values Based Leadership fit in and what does it all have to do with marriage?   The methodology provides a great way to resolve potential conflicts.

Here are the six game changing questions that make this work:

1.    What’s most important to you personally in this situation?

2.    What else is important?

3.    What did you mean by …?

4.    What has to happen to get that?

5.    What can you and I do or influence?

6.    What has to change?

This model presumes that our values and beliefs generate feelings which manifest themselves in a certain behavior.  If we exhibit an undesirable behavior we may want to change it.  To do so we as Christians need to draw upon the Holy Spirit to bring about a  heart change with regard to the belief that is driving our negative behavior.

I’ll explain in Part II how this would work in marriage both in terms of solving problems and motivating one another.


Monday, 5 August 2013

The Tough Conversation

Kira Newman of the Honesty Experiment wrote an informative blog addressing the best approach to having a difficult conversation with your spouse and to do so in a way that was not hurtful.

As someone who has spent much of his adult life avoiding difficult conversations when it came to my personal life I really appreciate Kira’s helpful suggestions.  However as a Christian I am learning that I have an obligation to address those areas of my spouse’s life where God is calling me to be His messenger.  Verses 26 and 27 in Ephesians 5 describes how Christ died in order to present His bride as being “without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  Verse 28 tells husbands that they are to love their wives in the same way that Christ loves His bride the Church. 

In this well known passage on marriage the “bride of Christ” refers to mankind.  Thus from a Biblical standpoint we are to be partners with God in our spouse’s sanctification process.  Sanctification is the name given to that process of becoming more holy, more like the Son, that begins at our new birth and continues on until we die.  Here are Kira’s six recommendations:

1.    Pick the right time, i.e. not when they are tired or stressed out or for some other reason less likely to want to listen to your feedback.

2.    Explain (and examine) your motivation.  If in reality your motivation for delivering the feedback to your spouse is to make your life better, to address one of your needs or expectations then the talk won’t go well.  If the true purpose of your disclosure is to help them to grow spiritually, to become more the person that God would have them be then you are His emissary.

3.    Choose your language (carefully).  Your spouse must hear your heart.  They must hear that you find it difficult to give feedback partially because you know that you need to grow in many areas of your own life.    Use “I” messages, i.e. “I suspect you have been so busy lately that you have not spent time in God’s Word.  I would encourage you to spend 10 minutes a day with Him, it might lighten your burdens.”  Instead of “The reason you are always so grumpy lately is that you have not been having your quiet time with God.” 

  4.    Focus on solutions not problems.  In the above example I might say, “I’d be willing to help get breakfast on the table in the morning so you could use that time for your quiet time unless you have a better idea.”

  5.    Ask for honesty in return.  Let your spouse know that you are asking them to help you in your sanctification process as well.  You might set aside time every week or two to share   at least one thing the other could do to grow.