The Army defines seven values that soldiers should strive to emulate in their daily lives. These core values establish a standard of conduct; they form the foundation of personal behavior that defines the person, as well as the expectations soldiers have of one another. These values are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.
Here's the thing. The Army didn't invent the values. There are many more than seven values that identify desirable human conduct and behavior (and plenty that define undesirable behavior as well), and they've been around for a long time.
So, that said, it should come as no surprise that the seven Army values are not just for the military - they apply to each and every citizen?this makes perfect sense, as all soldiers are citizens first.
We all have positions in life?stations, if you will?and it matters not what your station in life happens to be?some or all of these seven values are tested as a matter of course, each day of one's life. The values are as applicable to the student as they are to the professor; as important to the patient as they are to the doctor; as challenging to the child as they are to the adult; and as attainable by the penniless as they are by the millionaire. In short, the seven values are for everyone.
What are the values, and how are they applicable to everyone?
Loyalty - Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. constitution, the Army, and other soldiers. Be loyal to the nation and its heritage.
For the citizen, this means showing your faith in our nation, your elected and appointed leaders and your fellow citizens. People want to know they can trust you. And you want the same reassurances from others.
Duty - Fulfill your obligations. Accept responsibility for your actions and those entrusted to your care. Find opportunities to improve oneself for the good of the unit.
For the citizen, you've got a job to do and people depend on you to get it done. If someone needs help, give it to them. If you need help, seek it from your peers. Be consistent in action and deed.
Respect - Treat people as they should be treated. How we consider others reflects upon each of us, both personally and as a professional organization.
Act courteously toward friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. If you disagree with an opinion or point of view, challenge the position, but avoid the personal attack. Remember that your actions speak volumes about yourself and your business or organization.
Selfless Service - Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own. Selfless service leads to organizational teamwork and encompasses discipline, self-control and faith in the system.
Take care of your children, your parents, your siblings, and co-workers. Go the 'extra mile' for your customers and clients, even if gains you nothing more than some personal satisfaction. Volunteer to take on the tough job, or the mundane job that others avoid.
Honor - Live up to all the Army values.
Live up to the values of your business, your community, your church, your family. Act accordingly, and others will recognize you as an individual of principled character. Don't fall into the trap of, "but I just did what others did before me". Given the choice, take the 'high road'. Distinguish yourself from those who would be satisfied to do less.
Integrity - Do what is right, legally and morally.
Ask yourself, "Is this the right thing to do? How does it reflect on who I am?" If your inner voice is sounding the alarm, it's doing so for a good reason. Avoid shortcuts, cheats, or otherwise doing less than what is expected. Don't compromise yourself, your friends, family or business for some short-term satisfaction. Integrity offers long-term rewards that can't be acquired any other way.
Personal Courage - Face fear, danger, or adversity with physical and moral courage.
Is a boss asking you to do something questionable? Watched the local bully pick on someone repeatedly? Been in a group that disparages a certain race or ethnicity? It may be safer to go along with the crowd, or do nothing at all. It takes inner strength to stand up to peer pressure, bullies, social challenges, and moral dilemmas. It's easy to be a follower?anyone can do that. True leadership requires all of one's audacity, nerve and 'guts' to negotiate the difficult roads that lie before us.
Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. These are values for everyone. No, they're not always easy to live up. Our standards are challenged all the time. We make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn from them, and over time, these values become a part of who we are.
The best news is that if we emulate these values singularly, we become a better people collectively. And that is why the values are so important. They set us apart from those who choose not to live up to them.
Joseph Yakel is Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the US Army, a freelance writer, and author of three books. His articles have appeared in publications such as Communications Technology, The Pipeline, and Army Reserve Magazine. Joe's works have also been highlighted on USAWOA Online, USAR Online, and other Internet websites.
Free chapter previews of his books are available at: http://www.lulu.com/yakel
Joe welcomes visitors to leave comments and book reviews, and is available for author interviews. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org