Our personal values are our deepest priorities in life. These are the truths that we embrace not just as most important, but also most beautiful. They function as the foundational reasoning for all important decisions in our life. They influence the thoughts we think, the feelings we feel, and the decisions we make.

Knowing what your team members value most is crucial both to loving and leading them well. Knowing their values helps you care for them best as a person and helps you guide them and the organization towards fulfilling their God-given potential.

If you can identify the personal values of your team members, you can speak to the heart of a person. You will know:

  • What makes him feel heard and seen.
  • What best motivates her.
  • What offends him most.
  • What’s most influential in her decision-making.
  • What brings significance to her work.

Below are seven questions I ask to help me better understand what my team members value most:

What is one accomplishment that you are most proud of that won’t show up on your resume?

Resumes represent your greatest professional achievements, but often they are filled with only quantitative results that are significant to a potential employer, not to the individual. This question prompts the leader to provide an accomplishment that is usually more qualitative, more personal, and more significant than anything he would share with a prospective church.

What’s one piece of career advice you would give your 21-year old self and why?

Hindsight is 20/20. The greatest advice an individual would give their younger self usually comes from breakthrough or breakdown moments. These highs and lows impact us to our core and shape our values. The answer to this question usually comes with several stories that should be unpacked.

What are you worried about for the next generation and why?

Every generation thinks that they are the last “good generation.” The reason for this is that the “next generation” often lacks a value that the earlier one cherished. Listen for the troubling trend that your team members identify and the reason they think this trend is so important to address. Often, this answer identifies something that offends them and is the antithesis of a value they hold.

What burden do you have for the world that keeps you up at night?

We have all had sleepless nights. Many nights are a product of racing thoughts, while others are a product of a heavy heart. This question helps you drill deep into an individual’s passions and discover the 1-2 things that burden them the most.

What would “selling out” look like to you?

By learning what people view as “selling out,” you get to hear what most repulses them. They share with you a violation of a value of theirs. By understanding what offends them, you learn what motivates them.

What is the best compliment you have ever received and why?

The answer to this question usually reveals an individual’s deepest motivations. People elevate the significance of a compliment when someone acknowledges and praises a core value. Even more than the words someone said, people will remember the feeling the compliment gave them.

If you could only leave your children with one life lesson, what would it be and why?

Personal values are too important to be held to ourselves. Individuals are burdened to pass on their set of values to others so that the world will be a better place. This question guides people to think about what they hope their personal legacy will be. The explanation of their answer is where you get to hear their personal value.

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