Leaders Are Your People Paying the Personal Price of Working For You

I believe the fish rots from the head.

I believe profit is hoarding.

I believe people join a company and leave because they don’t feel valued and seen as a unique human.

I believe culture change must start at the top.

Spend time in any workplace like I do as a company culture architect and you start to see some patterns emerging. Patterns like hidden codes, unspoken ground rules and culture drags. These patterns though they may seem small in isolation create a cultural legacy that overtime can see the downturn of departments and whole companies. Ignore them and perish!

I get it. As a leader, manager, supervisor or HR specialist your job is to create a high performance culture that is also a great place to work.

You’ve done all the employee engagement surveys, had tool box talks, sent people off to training and retreats, hired coaches, deployed team software and given bonuses and rewards, yet your culture still ain’t so hot. What’s with that?

What if I told you that the hidden codes, unspoken ground rules and culture drags unless addressed would kill your chances of ever building a rock star culture? It’s true. The drainers like politics and backstabbing, drama addiction, staff turnover, and lack of procedures all have the same source – and I hate to break it to you. It’s likely to be you!

You see you can’t really change your workplace culture and build a high performance team until you change the focus from being on making the owner and the company richer to making the lives of your people enriched.

If this is not your current modus operandi then I can guarantee you – either now or later your humans will be paying a very personal price. Their disengagement, presenteeism, late for work, late for meetings, lack of accountability behaviour is psychosomatic. There’s a bigger issue going on here.

To change your culture, and change it for good, you as the CEO, owner, manager or leader must be willing to be vulnerable, to have raw and real conversations and to get help from the outside.

Ultimately you have to #startwithU.

With your open mind, generous heart and help from others you can make people management a driver of growth instead of an obstacle.

In my experience and in all the culture change, brand improvement and leadership development programs I have seen that without full buy-in from the top (and I mean all players and yes that means you too CEO) then all attempts to change will be hampered, held back and hindered. The culture and tone is set at the top and then is embraced or rejected by the individual humans within the organisation.

Leadership is not about managing widgets and reading the balance sheet, it’s about personal growth, your growth. Great leadership and empowerment begin with your open mind and heart. First you have to discover your unique power and use it and then you have to discover your employees’ unique power too.

What’s the Take Away?

Take a look at your culture – do your fish heads stink? Are you suffering from too many M&Ms (managers and meetings)? Are you treating people as Human Resources rather than just Humans?

What experiences of cultures, the good, bad and ugly have you had? Have you seen any culture change programs try and fail? If so what contributed to the failure? I’d love to know – share your thoughts in the comments section below.