By Liz Weber, MBA, CMC, CSP
How much of an impact is your leadership having on your organization’s culture? If you don’t already know, it’s time to stop and assess its impact. If you do already know, and the impact you’re having isn’t positive, what are you doing to correct it?
If you already know the impact your leadership is having on your organization’s culture is not positive, what are you doing to correct it?
Now don’t roll your eyes and think, “Oh here we go again. Here’s another consultant telling me we need to spend money on an organization-wide assessment to tell us how engaged or disengaged our employees are. This is just another useless exercise that won’t provide any real value to our organization.” If that’s your mindset, you’re right. However, that’s not what I’m suggesting you do as a first step to assess your leadership impact. You don’t need to spend money. You simply need to pay attention and listen.
You don’t need to spend money to assess your leadership impact. You just need to pay attention and listen.
If you’re doing your job as a leader, you are already aware of your impact on your organization’s culture, on your team’s morale, on your team’s productivity, on your customers’ satisfaction, and on your vendor relationships. If you’re paying attention, you notice how easily team members greet you and interact with you as they walk by you each day. If you’re paying attention, you notice how easily team members laugh with you and also push back on some of your ideas during meetings. If you’re paying attention, you listen to not just what your team members say to you, but what they don’t say – what they hesitate to share. If you’re paying attention, you uncover the reason for their hesitancy so you can resolve the issue, maintain the relationship, and develop even greater trust with them. If you’re doing your job as a leader, you’re paying attention and listening in the same way to your customers, vendors and other stakeholders as well.
If you’re not paying attention, your team, customers, and vendors are disconnecting from you and the organization, and that’s a disconnect that can be dire to your leadership, your team, and your organization.
If you’re not paying attention, your team, customers, and vendors are disconnecting from you and the organization, and that’s a disconnect that can be dire to your leadership.
Sadly, within the past two weeks, I’ve seen first-hand the cultural devastation of leadership. In the first scenario, a manager with a former client reconnected to ask guidance. Since the CEO’s departure last year, after a successful turnaround, the board elected a new president who unilaterally decided to take the company in a different direction with a different leadership structure. The new structure is convoluted with no clear lines of communication or authority. The organization’s morale has dropped appreciably, department silos are being reformed, and employee resignations are rising. In the second organization, after eight years of dictatorial leadership, the new CEO is dealing with an employee population that doesn’t trust leadership, doesn’t believe their input in the strategic planning initiative or output will actually carry any weight, and they’re simply waiting for the new CEO to ‘tell his first lie’ so things will feel ‘normal’ again. That’s pretty sad.
If you haven’t stopped to appreciate the impact of your leadership on your organization, do it today.
If your organization is ‘lighter’, happier, more productive, more profitable, more engaged, and more energetic now than when you first took over, congratulations. If not, you’ve got work to do. It’s time for you to pay attention, listen, and do your job. Your leadership isn’t helping the organization because you’re hurting the organization’s culture. In order to thrive, an organization needs a healthy culture. If your organization isn’t thriving, it’s your responsibility to lead the culture change. It’s your time to lead differently.
It’s time find out, what is your leadership doing to the organization’s culture?
This article was originally posted at wbsllc.com.
Liz Weber, MBA, CMC, CSP is a faculty member of LEADERSHIP USA.