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Leaders are your people paying the personal price of working for you

Alexandria Joy - Saturday, December 30, 2017

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 lilves 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. I know what you're thinking...

"No one sets out to be asshole leader." 

But do you know how to be a great leader that others want to follow?

Maybe you were a high performer, a gun at your craft, a super star operator and it got you this far. Great. And now you're a leader and that means you're now responsible for bringing out the best in others. Now that's a challenge. Unless you've invested heavily in coaching training, taken oodles of personal development courses, sat on the mountain in Tibet and attended a silence retreat in an ashram, chances are you are not quite sure how to go about helping your people grow.

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. Personal growth is not only good for you as a human but its also good for the business and the brand.

What's the Take Away?

My advice. Get to work on yourself and then get to work on your people. You don’t have time not to develop your people.

Then, take a look at your culture - does your fish head stink? Are you suffering from too many M&Ms (managers and meetings)? Are you treating people as Human Resources rather than human beings?

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.

Want more? Check out these related articles:

Dumb 'Brules' That Make Everyone Bananas

Are Micro-Managers Sucking the Life Out Of Your People?

Why We Need More Cultures Like Zappos

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