Over the last 15 years, I’ve done quite a bit of coaching with leaders who are preparing to interview for various leadership roles. One of my best pieces of advice to them is to demonstrate congruence in their interview.
That is, when they say they have particular values, strengths or abilities, they need to be able to give clear examples of those things and weave them throughout their interview. Simply put, congruence is when your actions and values match.
Demonstrating congruence is important for leaders at all times, not just in an interview setting. When your actions match your values, it gives people confidence that you lead authentically and act with integrity. Still, demonstrating congruence is not easy. It’s one thing to have the self-awareness to know and communicate your values, but it’s another thing to ensure that your actions always follow your espoused values.
In her chapter on Congruence in the edited book, Leadership for a Better World, Tricia R. Shalka, says “Acting in congruence means you give time and energy to the things you say are important. If you say your family is most important but you choose to work 80 hour weeks and, via technology, are never truly with your family 100%, is that congruent with saying your family is most important? Probably not.”
So how can you ensure that your values and actions are congruent? Here are a few questions for you to ponder:
- What are my core values?
- How do my actions demonstrate my values?
- What actions have I taken recently that are clearly aligned with my values?
- What actions have I taken recently that are not aligned with my values?
- Do I need to change my actions to bring them in line with my espoused values? Or do I need to reassess my values and communicate them honestly to myself and others?
- How can I demonstrate congruence with those I lead?
Leaders communicate congruence by sharing stories that exemplify their values, just like the personal story I shared about the power of education last week in my blog. Sharing a story from your early childhood or early career can help you mine your values, communicate them effectively, and demonstrate congruence to the people around you.
If you are interested in coaching to prepare for an interview or want to explore how you can lead more authentically through aligning your actions with your values, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org