There’s no pamphlet or training video about managing your company’s culture, but it’s arguably one of the most important parts of running a successful business.
A company’s culture is the interactions between its employees, and the overall ideas they share with each other. I’m not saying you need to start an island nation with your business and form a new language (although that would be pretty cool), but you do need to put in some effort in this area.
If you don’t know how to manage your company’s culture, you risk having a lack of cohesion between your employees, leading to a stalemate when it comes to your company’s growth. If you’re looking to get your business a step ahead, check to see if you might be suffering from the side effects of these poor cultural dynamics—they could be keeping your business down.
We all have different ways of leading a team. Some leaders are strict, some are a bit more laid back, and some of them like to encourage Taco Tuesday on Saturdays for whatever reason. But if someone in leadership is “new in town,” their unique management strategies can be a strange sight.
Depending on what your employees are used to, they could end up “teaming up” against you. They’re not going to barge into your office with pitchforks and torches, demanding their old boss back. What they can do, though, is throw a wrench into your structural dynamic by complaining about you to their fellow employees who’ve been around a lot longer.
Try setting ground rules about what you expect from them. More importantly, lay out what they can expect from you in a work environment. Don’t say things like “work hard” or “get the job done.”
Instead, give them an idea of what your “model employee” looks like, and how you’ll be a “model leader” right back.
Due to the structural nature of leadership positions, there can be some major blocks in communication between you and your employees. Whether it’s an intimidation factor or a lack of respect, there are certain concepts around leadership that can make communication difficult.
This can lead to employees going through uncomfortable situations without a way to mention it to you. They could have important ideas during meetings without the freedom to speak out. Heck, they might just gather around the watercooler and speak their frustrations about the new guy in accounting (trust me, I don’t blame them).
If you’ve heard a few too many rumors around the watercooler, give your employees a chance to talk about it. Make space for anonymous notes and read them at the end of the day. Make a point to ask if anyone has anything to add during meetings. Just give your employees an opportunity to speak out.
Low Team Morale
For most people, work is a place from which they get a paycheck and go home. In fact, only 20% of employees feel passionate about their jobs. If you’re noticing stagnant numbers on your quarterly reports, it can be worthwhile to explore methods of getting your employees psyched to come into work every day.
I’m not saying you should make the workplace the ultimate funhouse with a bouncy castle and a tiny car filled with 37 clowns (if you can manage 38, that’s a different story), but give your employees something to look forward to when they step in the door.
Maybe you could plan some holiday parties throughout the year to offer them a chance to mingle and get to know each other. Put in an espresso machine that edges out the boring cup of joe for a quick pick-me-up. Offer a bonus if your team reaches a certain quota of sales targets.
The most important thing is to have an open dialogue with them. Once you know what can make your employee’s time at work more meaningful, you’ll see your numbers skyrocket in no time.
It all comes down to establishing teamwork.
If you’re looking to knock your quarterly results out of the park, you need to refine the roots of what keeps your company running. What’s the point of having hundreds of people working for a business if none of them work together properly?
Knowing how to manage your company’s culture, and keep your structural dynamics in line, are both crucial to growing your business. Solve those puzzles, and you’ll keep your operations running like clockwork.
Growth usually takes on one of two very distinct pathways: a linear path and an exponential one. The latter sounds great, right? Just pull a few levers and watch your organization reap the benefits of exponential growth, making all of your dreams come true. Wait till that next quarterly review, you’ll show them you mean business!
Except that isn’t the entire story, and consistent leadership development results are better than exponential growth that isn’t sustainable.
So why talk about exponential growth in the domain of creating better leaders in the workplace? Well, because it never hurts to have something to aspire to. It never hurts to see what can indeed happen when consistent action is scaled out. That’s the key to making leadership development a potent component in today’s fast paced business environment.
What does feedback really mean? We talk about feedback, but we know that not all feedback is created equal. Feedback should begin with empathy, which is truly understanding the other person's perspective. From there, we want to come forward with evidence that backs up the statements we're going to make to that person. Direct, professional, and straightforward is the name of the game here.
Feedback and accountability go hand in hand within the world of strategically assessing leadership strengths and weaknesses.
What Comprehensive Feedback Isn't
Sometimes it's important to highlight what something isn't before we can really start visualizing what it is constructively. If you want to build or even transform current feedback and accountability processes, here's what to avoid most:
Relying on one assessment. There is no perfect assessment, and it's critical to avoid idolizing any assessment as the One True Measure of performance
Keeping resources too narrow. This isn't about trying to use as few resources as possible. Pull out all of the tools and see what's reasonable in terms of the specific leader being refined for greater opportunities (the ultimate goal)
Don't settle for just covering strengths and weaknesses in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Full insight requires full analysis; KPIs are just a shortcut.
Collecting quantitative data is important, but don’t skip the opportunities to collect qualitative data along the way as well. For example,
Breaking Down Strategic Leadership Assessment - The Best Path Forward for Growth
In order to get the growth needed to stay competitive, it's time to go back to the drawing board. What does strategic leadership assessment look like in action? Well, the important point is that it begins with realizing the end goal: you're getting insight into an individual's makeup and identifying what their true strengths and weaknesses are. We're going back to the 3D Leadership model as one of the key foundational points of this plan.
Staying the Course
Motivation is a big topic in the business world because we're used to watching people quit. Why do people quit before they've reached the finish line? Sometimes it's a matter of not being able to visualize the end. Or perhaps it's not having enough milestones to reflect upon as they move deeper into their journey. Not everyone will finish their leadership development plan, or approach it with enthusiasm.
Reassurance isn't a bad thing, and it can help bolster morale to the point where employees buy back in. For entry-level employees, leadership development can feel impossible because they're starting their journey with a lot to cover. For the more seasoned leader, development often takes a "been there, done that" feeling.
Dive Deeper Into Refinement With Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development
Digging into the roots of better leadership development isn’t an easy journey. Yet it is absolutely essential for companies of all sizes.
Did you miss the deep dive on assessments? Check out the Strategic View of Hiring podcast episode, Exploring the World of Assessments.
Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.
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