val-ues [val-yoos]: noun


val-ues:  n

The regard that something is held to deserve; principles or standards we believe are important or worthwhile.

I just Googled “values”… an interesting search.  One of the first links provided a “comprehensive” list of values – 418 to be exact.  From “Abundance” to “Zeal”.

Within the Social Change Model, in class, and in your assignment this week we are talking about our core values – those values that, in part, define who we are, where we come from and help us navigate everyday life.  Values provide a common ground from which we approach our work, and demonstrate to the community the ideals that we have committed to living by.  These values may be the result of your family’s influence (environment), a lived experience (behavior), or a belief (personal/cognitive factor).  Bandura’s Social Cognitive Model of Development concludes that these three factors impact the development of values, and thereby character.  We see values in action, we observe and feel the impact of values being lived by our close friends and mere acquaintances… we try on different values and see if they fit us.  And at some point, we begin to articulate what our individual, unique values are.  Not because someone else said we should be “respectful”, but because respect has become a part of the fabric of our life.

I imagine my values are much like my fingerprint.  My values are unique to me – not because you and I can’t both value “fairness”, but because the origin of my values and the meaning they carry for me daily is specific to my lived experiences.  The way I engage my values and practice them, refine what they mean to me, helps me to become a more effective leader; my values act as a filter for making decisions everyday.  The more I know about myself, and the more I strive for congruence and consciousness of self through intentional, disciplined reflection, the more confident I am in sharing myself with others.

Virginia Tech has expressed many of it’s institutional and relational values in the video below, affirming our commitment to the Principles of Community.  The RLC has  defined values for our community, too:

  • Integrity:  Integrity is living an authentic and honest life and recognizing that trust is the key fundamental to leadership and relationships. We uphold a high standard of ethical conduct which is reflective of strong moral character and commitment to our shared values.
  • Social Responsibility:  Where much is given, much is required. Social responsibility is recognizing that leadership is best learned through service; seeking to be leaders who uphold and embrace the university motto of Ut Prosim; and recognizing leadership not as a position but as a responsibility as a global citizen to create positive change for the greater good. Being actively involved on campus, in the community, and in the world.
  • Inclusivity:  All are welcome. Inclusivity is encouraging and valuing/respecting multiple perspectives, with the belief that our differences add value to our experience. It is recognizing that everyone has unique strengths and that the best teams and organizations are made up of diverse individuals.
  • Excellence:  Leaders model a culture of excellence. To be excellent is not always being first place, or winning, or getting the A, but it is approaching our learning and our leadership with an attitude of discovery, giving our best effort, being open to feedback and coaching, and making reflection a priority. Excellence is a standard of superior performance, to which members of the community continually strive and hold each other accountable.
  • Personal Growth:  Everyone is on a learning journey. Growth in knowledge, awareness, understanding, and skills. Seeking out opportunities for improvement. Leadership starts with self and with personal transformation; before we seek to enact change in others we must start with our self. Seeking out opportunities to lead through involvement. leadership development is a lifelong journey, not a momentary endeavor.
  • Meaningful Relationships:  Relationships are the heart of life and leadership. Building relationships with faculty and other students is part of the design of the RLC. The challenges of our world can’t be solved alone — it will take teamwork and therefore the ability to work together to seek to understand one another and help each other grow.
  • Scholarly Endeavors:  Leadership as an academic field has a rich history from which we can learn about the culture and context of society and human relationships. Through scholarly endeavors such as academic study, research, publications, and presentations, we advance our knowledge about leadership and help shape the future of leadership theory and practice for the next generation.

This week, as you define your core values, consider areas in which your values align with the RLC’s.  Or with your roommate, friend or colleague.  But don’t stop at the words we use to name values – ask why.  Inquire about how you each define that value.  What lived experience helped you define that value?

Your values may change in the future, but for now, practice becoming disciplined at interrogating your own values until you understand why and how that value has developed.  Then watch for those values to be lived out in your everyday actions.  Observe congruence.  Become conscious of yourself.

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23 Responses to val-ues [val-yoos]: noun

  1. Grace Ellis says:

    One value that I have always held is excellence in my work. This value caught my attention while I read this list because, until now, I have never sat back and thought about the reason I hold this ideal. If I reflect on myself and my experiences, I suppose I strive for excellence for a few main reasons. The first reason is I inherently feel the need to put forth my best effort. It is likely that my parents and their work ethic had an influence on me in that aspect, but no one has ever specifically said to me, “Grace, you need to strive for excellence.” I chose to be that way on my own. Another reason I value excellence is because when I do my best, even if I do not succeed, I feel positive because I know I gave it my all. Lastly, my commitment to excellence is rooted in the fact that when I strive to be the best I can be and make my parents proud, I feel like every hardship and obstacle is worth it in the end. Seeing the smiles on my parents faces when I showed them my grades or when I graduated at the top of my class is the only encouragement I need to achieve even more in the future.

  2. Katy Kelly says:

    I really like the comparison to finger prints and I agree with that a lot. Leadership styles and traits are always going to be similar for any leader just because there seem to be reoccurring traits that work well for leaders, but just like a finger print, there will always be the things that make you unique as a leader just like your finger print is something that makes you unique as a person.

  3. Jacob Clore says:

    Like what Katy said, I really liked the comparison to finger prints. At first I was thinking, “How can our values be unique if we share them”, but it isn’t our values that are unique; it is how we got them that is. I personally value optimism and hard-work throughout my daily life. One should not go through life with a somber disposition; they should keep a bright attitude even in the worst times. I also value hard-work because one should strive to give their best effort in everything they do. One should not merely strive for a letter grade; they should desire to learn something they have never learned before.

  4. Luke Carroll says:

    Values are definitely a part of who we are. They define us as a person, they set standards for ourselves and what we do on a daily basis, but what if we don’t follow them? Then we are just another face in the crowd. I believe like the others here that our values do serve as your fingerprint and the more you define them the more you understand yourself and your motivations in life. Knowing your values may also help determine what you want to do with your life in the future. Personally, my values come from my past, present, and what I want for my future. I was raised a christian so I know my religion plays an important part in my actions and it also represents many more people other then myself. I draw my values from family as well along with my community. Growing up in my community I learned humility and respect for yourself and to others. These are just some of my values and some of the things that define me, or serve as my fingerprint.

  5. Thomas Nave says:

    All of these values that are listed are great core beliefs, but there are definitely more out there. Everyone has their own values based upon past experience and what they believe is true. One belief I think is very important is open-mindedness. This means you should not judge others based upon what they believe or what they look like. It means that you respect their thoughts and feelings as well.

  6. Emily Hucks says:

    I agree with Katy and Jacob. I think that the comparison of leadership to finger prints is one of the best ways to describe leadership. It shows that even though everyone can display the same values, abilities, and traits, but each one is different because of the person and why they value that part of leadership.

  7. kelsey edmonds says:

    Using finger prints to represent leadership is an interesting and effective comparison. Finger prints are the one thing that makes us different from one another and identify us as individuals. I have always been a firm believer of we are who we are based on our experiences and the way we grew up. Different values might be extremely important to one person but mean virtually nothing to another. One value that I believe in strongly is social responsibility. To be a leader and a human being in this world, it is our duty to help those around us and leave the world a better place than how it started. Leadership is not just a position to be held; instead, it takes responsibility and service in order to make a real and lasting change.

  8. Courtney H says:

    Meaningful Relationships is a core value I hold dear. I agree with the RLC’s statement that in order to get anything done a sense of community has to be built to encourage teamwork, and this involves relationships with meaning. Personally, high school and college have taught me the importance of having friendships with depth. It is nice having friends to be fun and vapid with, but the true meaning of friendship lies with those who are allowed to see you vulnerable. The deeper you can be with someone, the more meaningful the relationship.

  9. Kyle Rushton says:

    Though some people may share the same values, the way that they acquired those values are very different. I liked the comparison to the fingerprint, because everyone has their own story of how they gained their values and how they have affected them. One value I think is important is hope. When times get rough or don’t go as planned, it is important to have hope for the future and a positive mindset. A part of hope is having faith and staying determined, which has been a prominent value in my life.

  10. Maggie D says:

    The fingerprint comparison is very creative because even though others may have the same values, people live by them in different ways. Some of my core values that I live by include integrity, respect, hard work and my religion The way I practice my values on a daily basis definitely makes me who I am today. Sticking to your values especially when your beliefs are tested in difficult times makes people stronger individuals. Like Luke said, knowing your values may help you determine where you want to be in the future.

  11. Nina Miller says:

    I love how the picture associated with this post is a fingerprint. Just as each person has a completely unique set of fingerprints, we all have different sets of values that drive our every day and help us to become our own unique, individual person.

  12. Abigail Bartolome says:

    I too enjoyed the comparison of personal values to fingerprints. People may share similar values by their definition, but the way that value influences their lives (how they acquired that value, it’s level of importance in their lives, etc.) differs.

  13. Emma Reeves says:

    As I read the list of values for the RLC community, I realized even more what an awesome community we live in. All of the values for our community struck me as very true, and I realized that I see each of them every day that I’m here. The fingerprint analogy makes a lot of sense, too. Each one of us in the RLC definitely has different values because we all have very unique backgrounds. However, I value that we all live together harmoniously and learn from each other every day.

  14. Andrew says:

    I appreciated how this article emphasized the individuality of leadership styles, the author understands that we are all different so we are going to lead with different methods.

  15. Courtney Green says:

    I really like how they compared values to a fingerprint. This just shows that from a distance you cant tell different people’s values and beliefs. However if you look close, or get to know the person you will see how there are subtle differences that make each person unique and different.

  16. Macy Kinder says:

    The values that a person has are just as unique as the fingerprint that a person has. Everyone looks and views things differently, but that doesn’t make them wrong. Based on how someone views something will affect how that person values it. Our similarities bring us together, but it is our differences that set us a part from the rest. Without these differences everyone would be the same.

  17. John jones says:

    Values are definitely unique from person to person, and I agree with the concept of values being like a fingerprint. Different people may in fact share many values, but those values could apply in a completely different way from person to person.

  18. Crista Watson says:

    I really think this a unique idea and metaphor for leadership. Each fingerprint is unique and different to all the others, just like all leaders have different ways of leading. There is no one best single fingerprint, so there is no one right leader.

  19. Victoria Gray says:

    A leader’s values are important because no matter what issue they fight for or discuss, the values of that person do not change, it is part of who they are. Each person is unique and has their own values that they embody and represent.

  20. Patrick Lawrence says:

    Good metaphor. Values are important for a leader because they are unchanging. Your beliefs may change but your values never change. This is very important because followers want to follow someone with stable values and someone that will keep the team on the same page with consistency.

  21. Miles Rachner says:

    I think Someone’s values should be held very highly on how you look at them. If someone values money higher than anything else, they may be unethical because their value on trust and honesty would be below money. So I think values is a chain, or list of what people hold the highest, or in basic terms, value the most. I think a good leader should value the goals and values of the common purpose the highest. If a leader valued the task the highest people would get left behind and steps would be skipped. If a leader valued the people the most then the task may never be completed. So Again I will talk about the importance of finding a balance among ones values in order to be a good ethical leader.

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