Consider the following metaphor: Your leadership is your company’s brand.
To customers you and your brand are a promise of what to expect from your organization. This is “brand reputation” and what carries you in the market place. Internally the same brand communicates to your employees what they can expect from the company. This is called “culture”. And your culture is what will make or break your organization. Poor culture (thus you) destroys teams while great culture (also you) will always attract and build great teams.
“To get somewhere fast go alone, to go far, go as a group” and great groups live on great culture.
As a leader, keep your values top of mind and live them out in all you do. Their is no stronger way to defend and grow your “brand” and the best possible defence of a company’s brand is through the consistent, positive action/role modling of its leadership. Likewise, to establish and defend great culture for our employees in fact assists in the overall growth and retention of our employees and thus the company.
Leadership is also about knowing and setting boundaries, to quote Dr. Henry Cloud;
“As a leader we get two things:
- What we build;
- What we tolerate”.
As such the understanding of what we are building and what we are prepared to tolerate goes very, very far in the establishment of a stated and then lived out; values, codes of conduct, safety programs and each department’s operating practices and overall performance.
Further to this is my overriding belief that “unexpressed expectations are never met”. That is to say when one masters’ effective communication, one takes charge of the expectation and can then have the expectation and the result be one and the same. To this end I believe that I (and you) own the responsibility both towards effective communication and to being understood. In this way, I know that what is being communicated is what is in fact happening.
To be an effective communicator one must listen. And if a leader is hearing/listening, and I mean really hearing and listening to understand then those who are heard and are understood will find the time to both listen and understand my concerns when I speak about the needs of the company. So, begin with the end in mind, seek out understanding at all levels and at all times, in this way opportunities are heard equally as are problems, and a collective and proactive response can be engineered with strong buy in from the company’s employees at all levels.
Leadership is about being a role model. To say one thing and do another is to court failure. However, when you say something (stated values) and then do it (action defines values), one role model’s consistency in behaviour, you then become an example of the needed behaviours, and consistently repeated behaviours becomes culture, showing all how to act, how to get positive results and to get them without them being at another expense.
So, role model your values, say and do the same thing at all times, with no compromise on building a great culture. Will it be easy, not a chance? Will it be worth it?
Yes, all the way.