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How Values Create Successful Leadership

By Maureen Werrbach, LCPC on November 27, 2019
How Values Create Successful Leadership - TherapyNotes with Maureen Werrbach

Have you ever noticed that when you weren’t sure about the mechanics of something you were leading, it felt difficult to actually lead in a way that seemed effective? Consider that 8th grade group assignment that no one else cared about but you somehow became the leader of the group, or the team project that your boss assigned to you because the previous lead quit unexpectedly. Fast forward to today: as a group practice owner and a leader, are you struggling to find your groove? Maybe you’re insecure about how you’re leading and you still feel like you’re leading on the fly?

I’ve got one word for you: values. Now, don’t get me wrong; there are a slew of things you can do to improve your leadership skills. These range from leadership courses to reading leadership books and practicing your abilities. But all of that is moot if you don’t have a set of values for your group practice to be led by. Values set the tone for what your employees and clients can expect from the group practice that you’re offering them. Unfortunately, most group practice owners never focus on figuring out what their values are. And if they do, they never model or express those values out in the world.

So, what are successful group practice leaders doing?

They come up with a set of core values that define their group practice.

Core values guide our businesses in many ways, especially in terms of how our group practices think and behave. A business without values lacks direction. Think of values as your group practice’s way of life.

They get their team involved.

The best way to find your group practice’s values is to get your team involved. Use staff meetings to get clinicians and administrators to come up with ideas for values they already see being lived. You’ll find that things can often get lumped together into a common set of values.

They evolve.

Nothing is stagnant in business—everything evolves. And guess what? Our values can evolve too. With time, you’ll find that as your group practice grows, so do your values. And that’s OK.

They model those values.

From conversations with clients, marketing, and networking events to the ways in which we engage with our staff, those values should be present and reflected. If it’s not clear that your group practice’s values are being expressed, then you need to revisit your core values and re-align yourself to them (or change them!).

They discuss those values in every decision they make in their business.

All decisions we make in our businesses should align with our core values. If the decisions that you (or your team) are making are not aligned with your values, you’re effectively confusing your team and not practicing what you’ve been preaching.

They discuss those values during the interview process.

These practice owners ask key questions that help them to determine if potential employees are aligned with their established values. One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is not taking their values into account when trying to create a workplace culture. Values are the culture, and we can’t create a workplace culture without clear core values that administrators and clinicians connect with.

Effective leaders become effective because they are clear on their business values right from the start, and they use them as a guide for authentically connecting with their staff and clients alike. What are your values?

* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.
Maureen Werrbach, LCPC

About Maureen Werrbach, LCPC

Maureen Werrbach, LCPC, is a therapist and owner of Urban Wellness, a counseling group practice in Chicago. She started Urban Wellness in 2012, which has grown into a team of 20+ clinicians with multiple locations. Maureen is also the owner of The Group Practice Exchange (TGPE), a consulting business and platform for current and aspiring group practice owners. TGPE provides guidance for starting a group practice, as well as marketing, organizational structuring, business development, and leadership advice. Visit www.thegrouppracticeexchange.com for more.

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