In Action, Change, Leaders

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

Leaders are asked to do a lot of things.  Some of those things are tactical, some are more strategic, some are tangible, some more intangible, etc.  Regardless, most leaders choose to be extremely busy, and while they’re busy doing lots of things, the things they’re doing aren’t always impactful.

As you’re thinking about the things that fill your day, does “impact our culture” pop into your head?  We think about being busy making phone calls, or creating spreadsheets, or giving presentations to customers, etc.  Where is the part of our day where we’re busy building & creating culture?

The reality is that the culture of any organization will tend to be a reflection of the behavior of that organization’s leaders.  You can do lots of different things to try & create a great culture.  However, what leaders do, what they value, and how they treat people on a daily basis, will, in the end, define what your culture really is.

Think about yourself as a leader.  If everyone in your business is watching, what are they seeing?  If your behavior and values are defining organizational culture, what exactly is that definition?  Is it a culture of tension, frustration, stress, exhaustion, sitting in your office with the door shut, etc.?

How does being part of your organization make people feel?  There’s more to culture than “feel”, but that’s a big part of it.  Are the people in your organization really excited about being there?  Do they even just feel OK about being there?  What impact do you have on that?

Sometimes leaders fall into the trap of thinking that the impact they have on culture comes from good speeches they give in staff meetings, or if they pay for a good caterer at the holiday party, etc.  That stuff is great, and can have an impact, but it’s the day in day out stuff that really matters.  The way you handle a specific conversation.  The fact that you look like you love your job, or maybe that you hate it.  The fact that you are passionate about serving your customers, or that you act like customers are a nuisance.

What impact are you having on the culture of your organization?  As a leader, your impact is never neutral.  You’re either building the culture you want to have or tearing it down.  Your choice.

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