Leadership is the foundation of superior company culture. but not all employees can be leaders, nor do all employees want to be managers. There is a distinct difference between a leader and a manager. Every company needs a balanced measure of quality leaders, secondary managers, and employees.
Leadership is first responsible for accomplishing the vision, mission, and core values of the organization. And when these align, an enterprise is in a better position to achieve its financial objectives.
Culture management is a constant and daily responsibility for leadership. Customer satisfaction depends on every department achieving its strategic goals. When these goals are fully achieved, customer loyalty and retention grows.
Pivoting Your Thinking
When we “pivot our thinking,” we look at evidence and facts about the enterprise, and ourselves, from a different angle. For some, it’s a 45° shift. For others, it may be a 180° shift. Every enterprise operates with different needs and expectations.
Bear in mind, radical shifts invite scrutiny. Both customers and employees expect logical and structured improvement. If we communicate a 180° shift in objectives or approach, our evidence, facts, and process must be absolutely correct.
Small course corrections invite less scrutiny. Continuous improvement and upskill training better move the company along a sustainable course. And in doing so, management and employees can better execute and achieve objectives.
Most importantly, small course corrections allow company leadership to manage challenges. With large course corrections, dysfunction and attrition sometimes expand beyond the capacity of both management and employees. Eventually, everyone — including customers — questions the judgment and skill sets of the leadership team.
Customer satisfaction improves with consistent and well-planned changes over a predetermined timeline. Generally, enterprises making large course corrections place customer satisfaction at risk. Customers expect continuous improvement. Employees also, especially millennials, expect continuous improvement. In our view, radical change creates fear and unpredictability.
Three Basic Human Needs
Quality people generally have clear expectations for their personal growth. We break down these expectations into three areas:
The need for individual growth is an instinctual response from good people striving to better themselves. Leaders and managers not recognizing the need for subordinate growth face an uphill battle for retention and achievement.
When any of these growth expectations get out of balance, eventually the others begin to falter. Generally, it’s a slow slide of performance and behavior.
A manager consistently spending excessive time in the office is a great example of being out of balance. While there may be temporary reasons for this type of situation, family and personal time often end up being the victims. And long-term, it can result in overall dysfunction and potential attrition.
Different generations sometimes place more emphasis on one expectation than another. Emphasis may change as maturity and life experiences alter needs and responsibilities.
Enterprises can certainly influence personal growth by improving the company environment through culture management. Our definition of culture management is as follows:
- “Organizational culture is a system of shared values, beliefs, and business practices.” — Investopedia
- The cultural management system governs how people behave, communicate, plan, engage, and perform within the organization. Company vision, mission, and core values establish cultural expectations.
Three Basic Human Expectations
People are simple. The work environment should be just as simple. Enterprises that understand this rational approach achieve more with much less confusion.
Fundamentally, both management and employees have three expectations for their overall career path. They fall in this specific order of importance:
- Team environment — Quality people want to work with a quality team.
- Job security — Threatening management approaches invite attrition.
- Fair compensation and benefits — Management must develop an understanding of realistic market and benefit scales for the industry at hand.
When we conduct 360° organizational assessments, we find that these three topics lead discussions regarding management and employee attrition. They also influence customer satisfaction ratings and innovative collaboration.
The Leadership Team
Effective leaders are most successful when they surround themselves with other successful leaders. Effective leadership teams generally have like expectations. While approach and style may vary from manager to manager, all need to adhere to similar organizational expectations.
Team expectations should first center on accomplishing the vision, mission, and core values of the company. Additional expectations should be established from strategic plans and departmental job descriptions.
We also recommend that the leadership team demonstrate fair and equal accountability for all employees. Favoritism and overly demanding behaviors or extreme reactions to challenges set the stage for conflict and dysfunction.
Employees and customers alike should receive identical guidance and feedback from the leadership team. When a leadership team member strays from the prescribed course, their approach or behavior should be corrected.
Effective Leaders, Effective Culture Management
Strong leaders recognize that an effective culture will take them faster and further than the alternative, allowing for financial growth and better predictability. The final result? Greater competitive advantage.
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