Values Over Morals


  • Author Luke Crane
  • Published January 13, 2020
  • Word count 329

"Values are the qualities of a life lived fully from the inside out." — Laura Witworth

Values Are Not Morals

When I told my wife about this topic she said "hmmmm…. I’m intrigued". Chances are you might be thinking the same thing. So let’s take a look at why values and morals are different.

Think about some morals that you have. Virtuosity, honesty, compassion, and kindness are some that come to mind for me. All of these deal with ethical behavior. Right and wrong. That is why we say when someone acts unethically that their actions are immoral.

Now if morals deal with ethics, what are values? Values are the guiding principles that you live your life on. If I told you one of my values is timeliness, that would demonstrate itself by responding to emails quickly or being on time (or early) for meetings. If I constantly show up late, you would not say that I am unethical or immoral. I simply don’t have a value of timeliness. See the difference? Another example might be if you work with someone who is always guarded and that makes you frustrated or feel untrusting of them. They might have a value of extreme professionalism while you value openness.

Values show up in choices and choices are visible in behavior. One of your values could be living a moral life.

Next Steps

If you are a leader, take some time to list out your values and rank them: when you are finished, a powerful next step is to share your values with your people.

If you are on a team, share your values with your peers and your leader(s).

Post your values at your workstation or office.

As you notice your feelings are strong (positively or negatively) toward an action or someone, take a moment to see if that is because of one of your values. If you don’t find one, consider adding one to your list.

Luke Crane is the Owner of Leadership Cohort (, a leadership coaching, training and speaking group that focuses on sharpening mid/entry level leaders for the next level.

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