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March
8
2015

Smart Leaders Know When Their Culture Sucks

Smart Leaders Challenge 
CultureEffective leaders challenge everything - - people, the mission, the vision, existing behaviors, conventional wisdom, themselves, and culture. Innovative leaders who want to position their organizations for the future will challenge traditional thought and practices every step of the way.And, if you’re serious about your workplace, you’ll take a very hard look at your culture.Will your current culture get you to the next level?Happy Workplaces Should HumWhen you walk into a room or walk by your employees, does all interaction stop? Do people stop talking? Does their head go down? If so, that’s a sign of people afraid to engage. It’s a sign of fear.Is that what you really want?People should be engaged and produtive. Employees shouldn’t look bored and they definitely should not look stressed. So take a look around. Now, ask yourself if the average person seems happy or not.Culture always flows from the top down and your employees will mimic your behavior. If you’re a sourpuss, emotional, abrupt, and negative, what do you think you’ll get from your employees? The same.Creating happiness at work should not be a pipe dream. It’s a duty shared by all leaders in the organization because what you will get in return will be substantial.Employee attitudes are powered by leaders.Employees who are unified have an understanding of the key value drivers. They have a belief in the mission of the company and understand how to carry out that mission. The moment an employee stops believing in you and in the company, job performance suffers and the organization crumbles.Culture is Not About Being “Touchy-feely”Culture isn’t some buzzword to mean it is a “touchy-feely” element of the organization. It’s not about ambiance or décor. It's a crucial driver that pushes the organization toward sustainable success.Culture allows strategy to thrive or die.It goes beyond the mission and values and it manifests itself in many ways. Some are carefully crafted by intention and others evolve over time by happenstance. Some are toxic while others are energetic and vibrant.Leaders who fail to ask if their organization has the right culture is failing in keeping their organizations fresh and innovative.People are often get frustrated by their culture and that stifles growth, innovation and results. Growing organizations can’t afford to have stifled employees. Employees will tell you that there is nothing worse than working in an organization that has a bad culture. When you work in a lethal environment, it touches all parts of life and not just a work life. In the end, employees find that it’s just not worth it to work there.And, turnover and continuity are costly.Signs You Have a Great CulturePeople are not afraid of change - Change is always tough but good leaders manage it with dignity and that helps your employees manage it return.Turnover is low – What is your turnover rate? What do people say on their exit surveys? The cost of replacing employees can be substantial – far more than fixing what’s broken.People can’t wait to join your team – They have heard about your company and they can’t wait to be a part of it.Top leaders are the real deal – They want everyone to succeed and they encourage growth.No Forced Fun – It’s not “just a job.” Employees really enjoy the company of the people they work with and they don’t see work events as forced fun.Employees know they matter - There is a sense that employees really matter. Even when times are tough with salary freezes or other changes, employees still know they matter. It’s not just lip-service.You stop gossip in its tracks – If you are a leader, you should always take the high road and you are certainly not a part of the gossip. At every level, gossip is shut down. Period.Great Communication – This is a follow-up to gossip. If there’s great communication, that lessens the need for gossip because people know what’s going on. From the top to the bottom, people communicate. Employees are not surprised with information and it is communicated well in advance.People are energized – When employees hear leaders of the organization talking about the mission, it gives them energy. When they see leaders who are energized, they’ll act that way, too.Your company is growing – People want to be a part of something big. They will work hard to help you deliver on results. They will gladly help you exceed your growth goals.Performance standards are exceeded - You’ll also see employees exceed performance standards. When they understand how their job fits in with the organizational strategy, they can craft their day to be results oriented.Your clients are happy – Employees who are happy give top-notch customer service.People smile and laugh without fear – When people are happy, you can walk the hallways and see people smiling, enjoying conversations, and having a good time, even while they are working hard. It doesn’t mean that work doesn’t get done.Leaders, you have the power to change the culture and build a healthy one where it doesn’t exist. New cultures can emerge. People really do want to love their job.Will your current culture carry you through beyond today? That’s the question that needs to be asked and answered.

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