“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.”

Roy E. Disney, Senior Executive of Walt Disney

Once you are clear on your values as a leader, and working parent and they align with the company you are working with, making decisions, leading, and solving problems becomes easier. Ultimately, you will become more successful as a leader. In our blog this month, I would like to explore the significance of aligning your values with the organisation and how when you are looking for a new role, you can recognise some red flags.

1. Authenticity and Integrity

I have heard again and again that these are some of the most admired values in successful leaders. If you can show your whole self at work and stay true to your values, your team will trust you more and be more loyal. As a working parent, it also helps you to communicate your boundaries and commitments outside of work.

Red flag: If you are brought into the business to replace someone in the long term, they don’t yet know and you are asked to keep it a secret, this is going to test your integrity.

2. Mission and Purpose

When you are in sync with the company’s mission and can feel the purpose in your role, your motivation and commitment to achieving business goals will be higher.

Red flag: If these values are not there and in researching a new job you are not interested in doing the job, unfortunately, sooner or later you will start asking yourself questions like: Why am I doing this? Why am I leaving my kids with someone else to do this job?

3. Work-Life Integration and Inclusive Culture

By work-life integration, I refer to a few things which are important to a working parent, such as flexibility, autonomy, productivity, and inclusivity. If these values are present, they will enable you to lead successfully, be productive and happy that if in an emergency you need to change plans, work from home, take a few hours off and come back to work later etc it is acceptable to do so.

Red flag: They might be easily spotted if for example there is a requirement to travel into the office every day, there are fixed working hours, or there is a requirement to travel to other offices. Another indicator might be if when you go to the office for the interview, you only see a certain employee demographic working eg: young professionals.

4. Leadership Development

We live in an ever-changing world, and with this in mind, it is only natural that I hear more and more from my clients about the value of development: opportunities to learn, to gain experience and to grow. As a leader when you are considering a new role, you need to understand what options are available to you for training, mentoring or coaching programmes, which will help to support your development.

Red flag: There is no development framework in place.

5. Communication and Collaboration

These are essential for your leadership success, especially as a working parent, when you need to navigate multiple responsibilities. Organisations that promote open communication, feedback culture and collaboration can support your leadership effectiveness and productivity.

Red flag: Interviews are conducted without involving relevant team members and stakeholders, or there is no clear communication about the next stage of the recruitment process.

In Summary

At this point, you might be curious as to how you can actively check the alignment between your and the company’s values. Apart from doing the company research upfront (company values, review the Glassdoor website employee opinions, social media presence, asking people from your network who worked for the company), you have a couple of options that you can test during your interview process. The article from KornFerry, here, shares a few great questions you can ask:

  • Tell me about your company culture.
  • Describe the team. How big is it? Who is in it? How do they interact?
  • What are some new/ exciting initiatives the company has put in place?
  • Flexibility is important to me. Can you tell me about a time when you had to be flexible with an employee?
  • If I succeed in the role, what additional projects will I be allowed to participate in?
  • What’s the trajectory for this role within the organisation?

You may want to ask similar questions to different interviewers to see if their answers are aligned. In your interview, you might also be asked questions about your leadership style, collaboration or accomplishments. In your answers, you can incorporate the importance of your values, talk about them and watch the reaction from the interviewers.

If you would like some support in defining your values and finding that next role either within or outside of your organisation, please get in touch to arrange a free discovery call and see how career coaching can help.

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