Leaders play a crucial role in shaping the identity of other leaders within their organizations. Depending on thought processes, actions, attitudes, behaviors, and situations, leaders can make other leaders more productive or counterproductive. Creating more productive leaders can impact your outcomes, output, and bottom line. Creating more counterproductive leaders can sabotage efforts to build, grow, and develop something spectacular.
At the core of organizational efficiency and operational flow lies a healthy environment of a stable climate, quality culture, autonomous creativity, and contagious collaboration. In a stable organizational climate, employees have favorable perceptions regarding the credibility, confidence, trust, and cooperation their leaders exhibit. Organizations known for quality cultures are rooted in healthy systems built on security, predictability, high standards, and balanced accountability. Autonomous creativity in organizations enables leaders to hand creative control of specific projects over to those responsible for working on them. Contagious collaboration involves inspiring shared positive energy and an interest in everyone working together to deliver the best services, products, or experiences.
Below, we will explore ways leaders can multiply or minimize culture, climate, creativity, and collaboration within their organizations.
Shining The Light/Lighting The Torch
Remember, what employees perceive and receive can determine how or what they achieve. Therefore, as leaders, we must be mindful of the type of light we cast and the guided paths we choose to illuminate. Leaders prone to shine a negative light on things during turbulent times and change tend to nurture a climate of negativity, low morale, and uncertainty. Leaders radiating positivity despite adversity possess the ability to foster organizational environments of perseverance, clarity, and inspiration.
Challenge yourself to see how your perceptions affect the perceptions of those you serve. Adding fuel to existing perceptions that each division, department, and employee only functions independently empowers the notion that the work done in one area does not impact the work done elsewhere.
Embody Your WHY/Walk Out Your WHAT
Your policies, processes, and practices determine what employees expect and respect. Is your leadership philosophy and style indicative of someone who walks the walk or relies on endless talk? Are you willing to roll up your sleeves, or are you too busy delegating to start participating? The WHY fueling the mission and vision of your organization is something you must carry with you. It must be at the forefront of what you choose to do versus not do. Fueling a culture where opinions besides yours or those of your managers do not matter can cause your team members to feel like outsiders.
Challenge yourself to Embody Your WHY and Walk Out Your WHAT. Develop a heightened awareness regarding who you are as a whole and how you operate by emphasizing the 4 V’s: Vision, Values, Visibility, and Vibrancy. Your vision provides a view that can go beyond and supersede the expected and normal organizational status quo. It paints the picture of a better future while encouraging others to buy in for the long-term win. Your values should signal to your team, organization, clients, family, community, and the world that your principles, practices, purpose, and standards are worth much more than average with no compromise. Your level of visibility is a component of your presence as a leader. Dedicating your time collectively and independently to engage and develop enhances your credibility, relatability, and authenticity. Your vibrancy should exemplify a positive energy and enthusiasm that resonates, inspires, motivates, and is transferrable.
Step Out While The Herd Stays In
Innovation and autonomy link to profitability. Leaders hindering their personal growth and development tend to do the same for their team members. Organizations resistant to change risk becoming irrelevant in a short period. Feeding an “it’s my way or the highway” mentality where you frown on fresh approaches causes you to backtrack versus being on the fast track.
Challenge yourself to be game-changing versus stagnating to prevent getting left behind by your competition. Commit courageously to changing the narrative when necessary. Demonstrate faith in your employees by giving them more challenging opportunities with less oversight. Monitor their progress from a safe distance, but check on them periodically while providing timely guidance and intervention. Keep yourself motivated to learn and incorporate new strategies, explore diverse perspectives, and alter your misconceptions. Inspire your managers and other team members to keep charging onward and upward in a manner that challenges their approach to productivity, growth, and innovation.
Communicate Connection to Disconnect Dysfunction
Consensus and synergy can affect your productivity. When you encourage and celebrate silos and unhealthy competition, there is no sense of belonging, community, or shared purpose. Executives might withhold pertinent information from their leaders, and their leaders might do the same with their managers. The managers might then choose to communicate certain things with a selected few, leaving everyone else to succumb to relying on gossip or misinformation. Inspiring a spirit of togetherness fosters a more supportive and inclusive environment where leaders solve problems through shared solutions versus isolated decision-making.
Challenge yourself to reinvigorate your and your organization’s communication and engagement strategies. Listen actively to relate what your team tells you to the data of your environment provides you. Invest in utilizing the time you take to explain the rationale behind your decisions as opportunities to train, coach, and develop. Communicate your intent and dedication persuasively. Outline the value and benefits of ideal practices clearly. Ensure your engagement is rooted in authenticity, curiosity, and empathy. Ask probing questions to establish and cultivate rapport. Allow your actions to reveal how much you hear, value, appreciate, and support each team member.
As leaders, determining if we actively multiply or minimize the climate, culture, creativity, and collaboration in our organizations is paramount. Mindfulness of the skills, qualities, situations, and relationships needed to ensure optimal success is critical. Focusing on Shining The Light While Lighting The Torch, Embodying Your WHY While Walking Out Your WHAT, Stepping Out While The Herd Stays In, and Communicating Connection to Disconnect Dysfunction will go a long way in cultivating better perceptions, expectations, innovation, and participation.
We must be vigilant in committing to systems, processes, and practices geared toward propelling our organizations forward versus keeping them restricted. Leaders committing to multiplying versus minimizing ideal qualities can help everyone in the organization rise from the ashes of uncertainty unscathed.