“Respect” is not a team value

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Last year, I wrote a blog about how teams can discover their team values. This year, I helped several customers to improve their way of working with distributed teams or got them started working in a distributed environment. This again included the discovery of the team values. Having team values, talking about team values and making them visual are all important activities to grow your team culture. You can’t decide on team culture or assign a culture to a team.

Now when I work with teams to discuss values, there are some values that get mentioned a lot – values such as trust, respect, etc. When a team asks me how many team values they can have, I always tell them as many as they want. Just look at Big Value List of Management 3.0 to get inspired. I believe, however, that it will be difficult to work with 42 values… so most teams end up with 4 to 7 values and trust, respect, etc. are often part of those values.

Then again, it always makes me wonder… please note that I don’t want a team to skip those values, but on the other hand… they are so basic: should you really mention them?

Last week, I read about “The Five Universal Values” by Rushworth Kidder. According to Rushworth the five Universal Values are:

  1. Honesty
  2. Respect
  3. Responsibility
  4. Fairness
  5. Compassion

Values that most teams, and thanks for that, explicitly mention as their team values. So that again made me wonder… next time when I am on a discovery with a team, why not mention “The Five Universal Values” from Rushworth Kidder as a given. Teams don’t need to mention these values explicitly anymore as part of their team values. This will give the teams the room to focus on their unique set of team values, as I believe and hope that the “The Five Universal Values” are always there, in any culture.

But what happens in case the “The Five Universal Values” are not present in a team? Well, then you’ve got a problem. A problem that you won’t solve by just identifying team values.

This blog first appeared on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/respect-team-value-ralph-van-roosmalen.

One Comment on ““Respect” is not a team value

  1. Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that there are some values that get mentioned a lot – values such as trust, respect, etc. When a team asks me how many team values they can have, I always tell them as many as they want. very useful information

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