As an FBI agent, I quickly learned that the “needs of the Bureau” would always come first. Transfers, assignments, and caseloads were handed out with little or no consideration for how they would impact the agent. We were given jobs that often seemed impossible to fit into one day (or one week), with little regard to the number of hours required to complete them.
Yet morale was always high. Sure, we complained and moaned at the inconvenience and joked that we’d crush under the weight of our responsibilities, but here was the thing: our values were in alignment with those of the FBI. As a result, our wellbeing never suffered even when working 24/7 on a child abduction, thwarting a terrorist threat, or building firewalls around a sensitive computer system.
These were essential investigations, and the results mattered. Our wellbeing never suffered because we believed in our mission — to protect American citizens. We got it right, more often than not, and we were always ready to fight the next challenge. We were doing well as individuals, despite the heavy workload.
The FBI’s defining values are Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity; however, there are others such as honesty, compassion, fairness, courage, and diligence, to name a few. We applied those values, first to ourselves and then to others.
Following clearly defined values makes a powerful impact, and it ripples into even wider circles because values are how we define our world. They are the foundation upon which we base our judgments on what is critical in life.
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What does that mean for today’s leaders when the workforce faces economic uncertainty, soaring energy prices, and a lingering pandemic that can all threaten their sense of wellbeing?
The way we behave, how we live and work, and our relationships with ourselves and others are all guided by the right values. Good values are the fundamental principles that provide us clarity of purpose, which nurtures wellbeing and gives us confidence because we live a meaningful life.