Shared Values

The pandemic has caused many changes in the way we conduct live workshops. As I was looking for a teamwork activity that would provide for social distancing, the one I have been using has participants define respect and dignity. What I have found is that for most workshop participants respect seems to be fairly easy for them to define, but when defining dignity, they tend to find that a little more challenging.

The goal of the activity is to help participants understand that as they work together as teams, that consistent behavior by each team member is highly dependent on shared values. When our values do not align, it is unlikely that our behavior will.

A core value of The Mandt System is treating people with dignity and respect and most organizations using the program have mission statements, regulations, policies and procedures, etc. that include treating people with dignity and respect. I wonder if enough time is spent helping teams find a shared understanding of those values. Asking questions like, “What does it mean in your specific service setting to treat someone with respect and support them to experience a high-level dignity?”, could be helpful for this purpose. The better we are able to align our values the more consistent we are likely to treat people.

I found this statement a few years ago and use it at the end of the activity of an example of how these values may not always align. I will close with it here.

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person,” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority.”

And sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me, I won‘t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority, I won‘t treat you like a person.” 

And they think they’re being fair but they aren‘t.

Doug ZehrVogt – Mandt System Faculty

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