Values in Other People

“So, let’s get back to the conversation part,” Martin insisted. “How do you get people to talk about values in a way that is helpful?”

“It is really very easy,” I said. “You simply ask them.

“I know you have tried this before and you got the lizard eye stare, but try the question differently, not about them, but about the environment around them. Often people cannot talk about themselves, but they easily see things around them. Here is how the question goes.

  • What do you value in a team member?

“When they respond to that question, they are really talking about themselves. Here are some more.”

  • What are the positive things your team members do to make this a better place to work?
  • Think about your best manager. What are the characteristics about that person that set him apart from other managers?
  • When you have a really tough problem to solve, what are the things that are really helpful to the process?

Martin was getting the picture. He excused himself from the room. He had some questions to ask his team members.

One thought on “Values in Other People

  1. Vicki Cotter

    and, Tom, I still disagree with you on this one! I led teams for many years in big and small organizations. And, when asked with curiosity, I found people are very willing to talk about themselves. Sure, ask them what they value in others, but asking them what is important to them in their work environment, and how they want to contribute to their team’s success, is a beautiful – and effective – way to connect. Why dance around a direct question when you can ask one? And, if in asking such questions, a leader gets a ‘lizard eyed stare’, my perspective is that says more about the leader than about the team member.


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