The Superpower and Kryptonite of Values


A couple of years ago, my family got hooked on the TV show Monk. The main character in the show, Adrian Monk, is a detective with a bad case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It makes his life difficult, but also what gives him his superpower of being exceptional at solving crimes, he notices things no one else sees. When Monk is asked how he does what he does, his response is always, “It’s a gift and a curse.”


Similarly, Superman owes his great powers to the differences between Earth and his native planet Krypton, but from Krypton also comes Kryptonite, the only substance in the universe capable of harming him.


Our values as leaders, the place that we operate from, are both our super-power and our Kryptonite. Last week, Maryanne asked you to think about the qualities of a leader you admire and how you can cultivate some of them. This week, we will be looking at your own values and how those play out in your leadership. It is perhaps no surprise that your values as a leader are both your super-power and your Kryptonite.


My most important value is growth, which means that I am always looking for ways how I can grow myself and how I can bring growth to the teams I am on. In my personal life, I am always challenging myself to grow in new ways by reading books, listening to podcasts, and finding new ways of thinking. As a team leader, I can get team members excited and on board for the possibilities that lie on the horizon. I am not afraid to pivot because, to me, it always presents new ways of growing. These are my superpowers.


My Kryptonite as a leader whose top value is growth is that I may get frustrated if I think a team member is keeping the team from growing or I may lose my patience with the slow progress of the team. I may let my value get in the way of allowing the team to do its own work at the appropriate pace for them.


What is your top value? How do you see this value as your superpower and your Kryptonite?

If you are not sure what your value is, here is a simple way to find out. Maryanne and I have borrowed this activity from Brené Brown.


Take a look at the list of values below and write down the ones that speak to you:

Achievement Accountability Adventure Authenticity Altruism Balance Beauty Belonging Career Caring Collaboration Commitment Community Compassion Connection Contribution Cooperation Courage Creativity Curiosity Dignity Diversity Environment Equality Ethics Excellence Fairness Faith Family Forgiveness Freedom Friendship Fun Future Generations Generosity Giving back Grace Gratitude Growth Harmony Health Home Honesty Hope Humility Humor Inclusion Independence Integrity Intuition Joy Justice Kindness Knowledge Leadership Learning Legacy Leisure Love Loyalty Making a difference Nature Openness Optimism Parenting Patience Peace Perseverance Power Pride Reliability Respect Responsibility Risk-taking Safety Security Service Spirituality Stewardship Success Teamwork Time Tradition Trust Truth Understanding Vision Vulnerability Well-being Wisdom


Now, narrow the list down to your ten top values.

Next, narrow it down to five values.

Then narrow it down to your top value.


As you are doing this, you may notice that some of your values fall under other values. For example, my value of gratitude falls under my value of growth, because I see practicing gratitude as something that helps me grow daily.


I invite you to think about where you thrive with your value. In what ways is this your superpower?


Also, where is this value your Kryptonite? Where can you do better?

We cannot be effective leaders without being aware of both sides of our values and how they play out in our leadership. Being aware of where we thrive and where we struggle allows us to—guess what? Grow!


Join us next week for a look at value based leadership.

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