When we’re value-driven, we are more reflective and purposeful in our actions and choices. That will lead us to greater performance and outcomes. In this episode, Salomé Trambach, a Leadership Coach and Consultant, provides her insights on value-based leadership and how it helps empower others. She talks about leaders learning to embrace the anxious feeling when dealing with difficult conversations, using it as fuel to help them grow. Plus, Salomé shows why it is necessary to be congruent in the values you believe in and why knowing our strengths and weaknesses brings power to ourselves and others. Tune in to this episode with Salomé and see what value-based leadership looks like.
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Value-Based Leadership: How Knowing Yourself Empowers Others With Salomé Trambach
Welcome to the show. I’m excited to talk about an important topic that’s near and dear to my heart because it’s value-based. We’re going to talk about value-based leadership. I have amazing experts that are always here to have a discussion with me. Salomé Trambach is here with me. She is going to give us her insights. She’s quite accomplished in her background. She’s a Leadership Coach and Consultant. She is ICF certified. She’s a Growth Mindset Practitioner and an NLP practitioner. She’s got various degrees. She’s based in Copenhagen. I love that she’s global and international in the way that she thinks. She has lived all over the world and speaks four languages. She has a background in business development and ten years of leadership experience.
Without further ado, Salomé, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. I am very excited to be here.
Why is value-based leadership something that you are passionate about?
When you become passionate about something, it’s because it probably had an impact on you in your life. That’s what happens when it comes to values and bridging that with leadership. You mentioned at the beginning of the episode that I had some years of experience as a leader. I started off very young without thinking so much about what it meant to be a leader. Only later in life in a leadership role did I get to where I was challenged and when my values were questioned and put into play. That’s when I realized what value-based leadership meant because I had to start making decisions that were congruent with what I truly believed in. I stood a little bit at a crossroads.
Let’s hear about that. What was that moment that changed you?
It changed me. I was working in a role as a leader. I had grown a team of people. I was in a situation where we had done a bit of restructuring around the company. I ended up losing my team for better restructuring. It had to make sense in terms of the direction that the company was going in. I was struggling at that time. It was not so much the decision itself but more around what it meant for me, what it meant for my team, and what it meant for the values I truly believed in and how things were done.
We can often be in that situation, whether team members or leaders. We don’t always control what’s happening around us. That’s the way that things are. You do have control over whether or not you want to challenge, speak up, or accept the status quo. I was in a situation where I wasn’t completely happy. It took me some months to realize that. I wasn’t living up to it, but I realized it was important to me.
At that moment, I realized that in order to stick to my values, which were very much around honesty, integrity, and speaking your truth not completely regardless of consequences, but at least knowing that you thought about the consequences that they’re worth it for you. I accepted a situation where I knew I had to talk to my own bosses. I was a leader, but I had bosses myself. I had talked to them about my true feelings in that situation and the fact that I felt that I hadn’t been included in the decision-making process. Things like that can end up making you question whether or not you belong in a certain place or not.
What I did at that point was dig deep, do a lot of self-reflection and a lot of thinking about the future, and accepted what possible consequences there were. Those consequences were potentially not being a part of that company anymore, whether it was me leaving or being fired. That was important to come to that step and say, “What do I want to accept?”
Situations can vary for everyone, whether they can be serious or less serious. You get to a point where you feel in your body that something isn’t right. That’s when you know that you have to look a little bit deeper and think, “Is something that’s happening around me right now not matching what’s important to me? Is it going against my values?” That’s what I did. It enabled me to get an even better relationship with the people I was working with because I was finally being a hundred percent honest. That was a big learning opportunity for me.
Correct me if I’m wrong. From what you said, it sounded like you were a little bit anxious about having that conversation. At the same time, knowing to be true to yourself, that was a conversation you needed to have. Is that correct?
Absolutely. I was anxious. It’s very normal to feel that anxiety to start with. You have to process it inside your mind. For me, at least, when I realize, “This is worth it for me. This conversation is worth it,” I accept whatever consequences might come out of that because I respect myself. I also respect that other people may not see things the same way that I do, and that’s okay, too. I needed to get that out there. That’s what happened.It's very normal to feel that anxiety to start with. You have to process it inside your mind. Click To Tweet
It needed to highlight that because there are a lot of people that find themselves in similar situations. I wanted to highlight that it’s normal. It’s okay to feel anxious about having difficult conversations. Many people in leadership roles avoid those difficult conversations, whether it’s speaking to your value as a person and wanting to be included. You were in that context. You felt like you should have been included and you weren’t included.
There are lots of different circumstances where people avoid this conflict. Maybe somebody’s not performing, and your value in the organization is to maintain a level of performance and hold people accountable. That requires a difficult conversation. We do feel this anxiety. We have to feel the anxiety and do it anyway. That’s what it is. It is not going to be easy because we have these values and standards, but we have to do it anyway because of honoring those values.
Either you do that or you step away. Sometimes, there are situations that can be harsh, whether somebody treats you or treats others around you, especially if it’s something that’s happening to you. It’s crossing all of your boundaries and you decide to step away and not deal with it. That’s also okay. People have to figure out what makes sense. If there is a bigger case or cause to fight for, whether it’s for yourself or others, it’s worse to consider if that conversation needs to happen.
I’m thinking of more the everyday type of things. It’s not that boundaries are crossed, but more that there are miscommunications and misunderstandings. Even those, we don’t open to those conversations. To your point about consequences, sometimes, we think that there are more consequences than there will be. You said that opened up a better relationship of a conversation. We build up this consequence like, “I’m going to get fired if I go in there.” It’s all in the way that you say it, right?
Yes. What a key point right there. It’s the way that you say it. Part of the whole concept of doing this and sticking to your values is the reflection part. There’s also the part around true self-confidence, which means that you’re understanding yourself. You believe in what you believe. It may not be what others believe, and that’s okay. You’re willing to accept your own strengths and also your own blind spots and weaknesses. That gives you the power to step beyond the anxiety or the doubt that you might have and say, “I’m willing to also open that and show that to others.” You accept the consequences of that or have great conversations and what other people are thinking. That’s what we want, too. If one of the values is honesty and transparency, we’re going to have to be a little bit open about who we are.
One of the things that can sometimes be triggering for people when I talk to organizations is the idea that you have to separate your personal self from your work self. At the end of the day, we’re that same person. We are the whole person that comes to work. We are the whole leader that leads teams or that is managing a project. We may have a value that we value family, but that still can show up at work. The work-life balance can be an aspect of that. All these things work together. It’s important to pay value to that and pay importance to that.
I wanted to highlight that because you used the word consequences. I’m going to ask us to reframe that because consequences tend to have a negative connotation. When people are thinking about having these conversations, it is what are the possible outcomes? What are the potential discussions that could come from that? What are the potential outcomes? Somebody could reject what you say, which might lead to you wanting to leave or them wanting you to leave. Those are possible outcomes.
I want to maybe reframe that because I don’t want us to go into the worst place and the worst possible. There are many possible outcomes, and some of those possible outcomes are also that we’re going to deepen our relationship or that we’re going to be better understood. I find that when we communicate in a respectful way, challenging only makes us better.
When we challenge an idea or someone else’s way of thinking and do it in a way that says, “How do we find a better solution here? How do we, as a team, work more productively together or be more inclusive in the way that we work?” It makes us better. For some reason, we think of the word consequences when we think, “If I challenge and I’m open, then that’s going to go badly.” We paint that picture worse than it might be.
There is so much opportunity. As a leader, we also need to adhere to certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities as well is to be able to show up a little bit like our true selves and our values also because it enables others to do the same. If we are role models, we set up and say, “This is something that matters to me. I want to know what matters to you.”Show up with your true self and with your values because it enables others to do the same. Click To Tweet
When we talk about it in big corporations with the value-based leader who bridges their own values with the company’s values, that goes hand in hand. Usually, people work in environments or at least try and should the best that they can work in environments that match their values. That’s usually what companies should do.
I worked a lot with startups. Whenever people would, they start writing down their values. I’m like, “You have to bridge that in every single thing that you do. You want people to know what you’re doing, the mission, and the whole reasoning behind that bigger purpose and the principles you’re following. You want to hire people who believe in the same thing, want to live in that way, and want to be principled in that way.” It starts there as well.
I like what you said about bridging the gap between personal and non-gap. If there’s no gap, how do you have them come together? Let’s say you have a startup. Startups tend to be a little scrappier. Maybe the working hours aren’t always as conducive to work-life balance or family. That’s a huge topic. People have been home through the pandemic. They have less tolerance for being overworked. There are so many people feeling burnt out. How do we bridge that gap as leaders for ourselves and also our team when we have a value of a family but we also have our work? How do you go about bridging that gap?
The most important thing is to be extremely transparent and honest with people. Whether you are almost a startup or a scale-up, you can still be in that same situation where there’s a lot of work. You don’t have to overwork anyone even though you are a startup. First of all, it’s about being very clear about how you see work and how you expect others to show up at work. Only then will you be able to hire the right people.
Often, companies make the mistake of almost pretending that work is a certain way. They’re interviewing people. People get so excited. Once they enter the company, they’re like, “This is not at all what I was expecting.” All of your efforts and all of the investment that you put into this recruitment process failed.
You need to realize what values are important to the company and what you are looking for in the people you want to represent your product or service. Be as clear, open, and honest about that. Talk about what that means. If it means working long hours, what does that mean? On a day like this, does that mean being able to work at home, working long hours? What exactly does it mean? You can’t expect anyone to want to work for you unless you’re open, honest, and transparent about that.
Does that mean two days a week or does that mean every day?
People not only want a great work environment. They also want purpose. If you have a strong purpose and strong ideals at your company, and a mission, then a lot of people will go with you on that mission. You have to empower the people that you’re hiring. You might ask them to work hard. What does that mean? What are they getting? Are they getting a lot of responsibility? Are they getting trust? What exactly is the give-back here that you’re offering? That’s important. A lot of people will work hard in the way that they believe is right for people that trust them, for people that give them responsibility, and for people that honor their perspectives.
It’s also the purpose that they’re passionate about.
They’re like, “I might be working hard, but I’d like to raise my hand and give feedback on this.” If you foster a culture like that, you can create amazing results and create a company where everyone’s going on Glassdoor saying, “You should apply. This is a great place to work.” There are a lot of ways of doing it, but you have to be clear and transparent. Say it. It’s like Elon Musk firing half the Twitter staff and saying, “Now, everybody needs to work double as hard.” That’s the expectation, so choose to stay or leave.
I want to come back to something you said. That’s true. People know what they’re getting, and then they can decide whether they want to stay under that condition or not. It’s about transparency. You said it, but not directly. I want to highlight that for people who are reading. It’s also about consistency. I know somebody specifically who went to work for this very well-known company. They talk about how they give you such flexibility and how you can take yoga classes and wellness because they set those things as a priority.
This person has been asked to work 2 to 3 weekends a month and is not given extra time for that. She is not allowed to attend any of those wellness classes because their particular department is overloaded or they’re loading it on this one person and it’s not consistent. The other people in the team do not have to do that because they refuse, so that person ends up having to do it. It’s also a question of when you’re a leader. Not only do you need to be transparent, but you need to ensure that there’s consistency and fairness in the organization. That applies to everyone because you can ruin your reputation as an organization.
I want to hear what you think if you are that leader and there are inconsistencies in the organization for your people with the next level of management. You ensure that you have enough staff or that it needs to happen in order to be that leader that people want to work for. Sometimes, you can’t control it, but there are things that you can influence that you might not be speaking up about. That’s also a scenario where you’re not speaking up because you don’t want to get fired, but your people are all going to leave because they’re upset because you’re not doing your job as a leader.
Maybe you’re not the CEO of that company, but if you’re managing a team, you’re trying to figure out at least what you can do in the short-term and then what you can do long-term. If we talk about opportunities, what are the opportunities for you? What are the opportunities for the team? There might be things that aren’t easy. We talk so much about candor. We talk about feedback culture. It’s something we often talk about. Organizations have a big difficulty in implementing that.
It’s the leader himself, herself, or themselves that can have an influence on that. That can create a culture to say, “We want to know how people are doing. Whether we have to figure it out anonymously or we have conversations with people, we need to know what’s going on. We need to give that message to the people that have the power to make decisions.” That’s how it needs to be, but it’s not easy. That’s the whole concept of speaking up.
If you think about it, being value-driven means that you’ve reflected. A lot of leaders never even think about the fact that they’re leaders. They’re coming in and they have responsibility. What does that responsibility mean? Why are you in that role? What kind of impact do you want to have? What’s important to you? Where is your moral compass or your inner guide? What is the intention of you leading? Asking yourself all of these questions and asking the people around you these questions will lead to a healthier way of working, a healthier culture, and a healthier environment. It will enable people to speak up a little bit more. That’s key.
It’s not just about talking about values as this fluffy concept that people will often see. It’s about how it leads to behaviors, choices that we make, and making decisions. It’s extremely important. It leads to performance and to people saying, “I want to work for this company or I don’t.” It leads to retention. It leads to investment. It’s all linked, so it’s important.
Is there anything that I didn’t ask you yet that you feel is important to share with the audience?
The most important thing for those of you that are reading out there is, have you asked yourself these questions? What is the one question that would help you get closer to knowing yourself a little bit more or knowing your values a little bit more? What is an example of a place where you worked or a situation that you were in where you felt something maybe wasn’t completely right? What needed to be right? What did you need to honor about yourself? What decision did you need to take? It’s super important to ask people to ask themselves how they want to show up. That’s the key thing. Look a little bit inwards to figure that out. It’s not easy, but do it for yourself and then empower one other person to do it. We’ll create better work environments out there. I am sure of that.
Energy is contagious. As you share that and decide how you’re going to show up and show up at your best and according to your values, it’s contagious. It creates that ripple effect because it gives other people permission to do the same. It doesn’t matter where you are in the organization. You lead from where the people around you will be impacted. That will make all the difference.
We can only control what we do and not what other people do. Let’s start with ourselves.
Is there anything else that you wanted to share before we sign off?
It’s good. I hope that people will be curious. Go in and look at what are some questions you can find out there. You can contact me on my website as well at SalomeTrambach.com. Otherwise, be curious about what leaders are out there. You can get inspired by companies. Look at Spotify, Lego, or other startups that are making an impact in the work and see how you can do it. There are many ways of doing it.
Thank you so much for being here. What’s that website that people can contact you at?
Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
Thank you all for tuning in and understanding how you could be living your values and focused on values. There are the values that you represent and what you believe in, but then there is also value. What creates value? That’s also value-based leadership. It’s looking for what creates value in the environment that you’re in, for you, and for other people.
What I loved about what Salomé said was that when we are value-driven, then we’re more reflective. We’re going to be more purposeful about the actions and the choices that we make. That’s going to lead us to greater performance and greater outcomes. It’s up to you guys reading to step back and reflect on what your values are and what value you are looking to create for yourself and others. It’s up to you on how you can be more purposeful in those choices and actions and challenge, speak up, and live those values and live to create that value within others. Thank you for being here. We’ll see you in the next episode.
About Salomé Trambach
I am Danish & French/Moroccan. Born in Paris, grew up in Copenhagen (where I attended the French school), and I’ve lived, studied and worked in Ecuador, U.S, Australia, Ghana, U.A.E, Mexico, France and China. My happy place; in the mountains hiking, climbing or skiing.
With an MSc in International Business & Politics and 10+ years of leadership experience; I am passionate about the intricacies and complexities of how organisations, leaders and individuals grow and create an impact in their environments.
I believe in the power of openness and vulnerability. This is when powerful things start to happen. My job is to lead you there, to hold space for you, and to keep you accountable. All you have to do, is be willing to go there.
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