Have you ever just walked through the front doors of a company and thought, “Yeah, I would definitely work here”? A properly developed corporate culture forms the attitude and structure of an organization. It is instrumental in attracting & retaining talent, running operations smoothly, and leads to customer delight. And those things don’t just happen by accident. It takes concentrated and purposeful effort on the side of leadership to develop a successful corporation and a positive and productive culture. As you may have experienced, a typical culture has a downward flow from the managers and bosses to the people working at the grassroots.
We will spend the next little while exploring the most significant signs that indicate a corporate culture heading south. Due to heightened competition and several other factors, some corporate leaders prioritize “efficiencies” over everything else. As a result, the workforce begins to experience anxiety. It negatively influences teams, and people start to leave stage left to find a more rewarding and fulfilling place to spend their days. As managers encounter rising numbers of dissatisfied employees, it creates a further downward spiral of disease and desperation in an organization. You know you’ve felt it. So let’s talk about how to nip that problem before it ever tries to poke its head out of the nest.
Side effects of bad leadership
For better or worse, most long-term employees consider their colleagues an extended family as they imbibe the cultural values. It’s a natural side-effect of often spending more time with your co-workers than with your actual family. A strong corporate culture that endorses and facilitates adaptation to a changing world often experiences a strong performance.
On the flip side, lousy leadership behavior can lead to several issues. It starts with poor internal communications. When we as leaders can’t encourage the development of team spirit among our teams, we may be heading towards a toxic business environment. The insidious part is that you might not even notice it spreading, just like cancer, until it’s bad enough to warrant some serious attention.
The bad habit of micromanagement can set about a tense workplace atmosphere and even lead to hyper-competition within the group. Often leaders who lack a strong sense of purpose tend to fall into the profit-focused spiral. Such a situation flushes employee loyalty down the proverbial toilet, and you’re left with either disgruntled employees who don’t care about doing their best job or high turnover with too many new and unseasoned people who don’t really know what they’re doing.
Broken leadership behavior
A broken corporate culture is most often the byproduct of poor leadership. There are times when company management seems to ignore the presence of such poor leaders. Management is either clumsy or unwilling to experiment by replacing the ‘performer.’ Often, the detrimental effects such a poor leader has on a company’s long-term growth are not realized until it’s too late. A poor leader can destroy a company’s culture by setting wrong precedents and undermining the long-term stability of the workforce (and, therefore, the business) by causing high employee turnover. Their behaviors (not the financial outcomes) matter most when it comes to employee engagement and satisfaction.
Behaviors that build success
History is full of great leaders in business, sports, politics, arts, etc., that we can draw from for inspiration and direction. Martin Luther King Jr. was a charismatic, transformational leader. Yet, he could be authoritarian when it came to achieving his end goal. He held fast to his tenet of peaceful protests and would not be goaded into engaging in violence. He has numerous quotes that illustrate his true understanding of what it means to be a real leader. “Our lives began to end the day we became silent about things that matter.” He gathered a worldwide following through his powerful and moving “I Have a Dream” speech, not to mention that during that protest, he led over 200,000 protestors to speak out against civil rights violations peacefully. His leadership behavior promoted his followers to truly believe they had the power to make a serious change.
Always be learning
As leaders ourselves, we realize the best way to continue on a path of growth and development is to remain forever hungry for new knowledge, insights, and approaches that continuously hone and improve our organizations. A focus on learning will never let you down when it comes to keeping you open-minded and humble as a leader.
Choose to remain deliberately developmental in your approach to problem-solving. You should focus on continuous learning not just for yourself but for your teams as well. You could allow teams to come up with answer options and then decide collectively. Such an approach sounds good on paper but may seem challenging when time is of the essence. And isn’t time always of the essence?
Leaders and teams only have a limited time at hand, and the list of tasks seems to be endless. However, the deliberately developmental approach has a lot of benefits. For one, they help team members solve similar situations independently without having to escalate every time. This empowers them to further take on more responsibility and feel more valued, which is what all great leaders want for their people.
Also, as leaders, our response to situations should be through questions as they help explore possibilities and widen thought horizons. Questioning our teams in an open-ended, rather than a leading way, can help bring out an alternative course of action better than the spontaneous course. The goal for the leaders is to keep that line of communication open as much as possible through active questioning.
As we discussed in a previous blog post, authentic leaders are a boon for any corporate culture. We inspire our teams and can relate to them. Authentic leadership ensures employee satisfaction and leads to a positive workplace attitude for the team members, improving sense of belonging and efficiency. The question is, how do you become or develop authentic leaders? We can help you. We’ve been through the process ourselves and are here to guide you every step of the way to becoming the best and most authentic leader you can be. Call or reach out online to schedule a consultation with us to learn more.
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What an accurate dissection and legitimate realization of leadership traits that can make or break a team (…an entire company!). Very enticing insights, and if I were still managing a team I would already have inquired about how to better my own skills through your consultation offerings! Great article and what a smooth read – phenomenal writing style that clicks with (me as) the reader
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