12 Most Necessary Shifts in Your Leadership Thinking
The dominant way leaders and employees work together is outdated, divisive. It alienates employees and managers from one another. The familiar way is that employees accept a paycheck in exchange for work. Keep personal interests outside of work. Stay within your defined box.
Imbued in this relationship is a command-and-control hierarchy. Charlene Li’s work has shown us that this type of hierarchy is closed. Meaning that nothing from the outside can easily penetrate how things are. The current state is closely guarded against unwanted reasons for change. There is little to no room for employees to share ideas.
It’s time for a shift. For businesses and organizations to succeed in today’s complex world, the command-and-control hierarchy triggers restrictive expectations that limit employees’ exploration and implementation of fresh ideas.
But, what do you shift? Here are 12 ideas to consider.
1. Foster community
The workplace is a community. In a community, people share a common attitude towards its purpose. In healthy communities, the people internalize the identity as part of their own. There is joint ownership of what the community creates. People are willing to contribute and help others. We need more leaders to help make this shift away from silos, turfs, and extreme individuality dominate in our workplaces.
2. Know your “Selfless-Why”
At a base level, we work to survive. That, though, doesn’t need to be the only reason to work. Your work can be an extension of your desire to help others experience success and satisfaction from their efforts. Identify your “Selfless-Why.” It’s the reason you arrive at work to do good things. It’s bigger than you. It requires help from others.
3. Create an environment of optimism
Managers have a responsibility to create a working environment that enables employees to contribute their talents and do their best work. An environment of optimism helps do that. Predominate beliefs include (1) things are possible, (2) what I do matters, (3) work can be a source of joy, and (4) employees passions should be harnessed.
4. Redefine achievement
Achievement at work has a variety of meanings for employees. Research has repeatedly shown that for employees it’s not more money. Managers seem stuck on the belief that it is. Employees want to contribute and make a difference. They want meaningful work. Shift your leadership to help make that happen.
5. Get to know the whole person
Businesses don’t run themselves on the numbers captured in the financial statements. Those numbers are generated by the hard work of people. People who have hopes and aspirations. We need more leaders to understand their employees’ hopes and aspirations. When we are understood we want to give more of ourselves.
6. Know your personal values
When you know what you value in life and in people clarity emerges. The clarity typically centers on the quality of life and relationships. That clarity reveals that the significance of helping others is far more enriching than satisfying one’s own needs. Imagine how that can strengthen relationships at work.
7. Help your peers just because
Those silos I mentioned previously, well a good way to tear them down is to offer your support to a peer. Offer support because it’s the right thing for everyone. No agenda.
8. Link profit and people
When I talk with financially-minded people, which is often, rarely does the conversation include how people will be affected by their financial analysis. We need more leaders who can link profit focused conversations to also include workforce implications. However, it’s not how do we get “those people” to do what we need. The shift is what are the potential implications and how do I help my community navigate the changes?
9. Encourage more
The cynicism in organizations is thick. The needed shift is not to succumb to it. It’s to act in defiance of it. Encourage employees to apply their talents. Put employees on projects that tap into their passions. Have conversations about failures and help them pull lessons from them.
10. Adopt a “Green Mentality”
A colleague once said about professional development, “If you’re ripe you’re rotting; If you’re green you’re growing.” Professional development never ends. A green mentality keeps your mind sharp and your skills fresh. Curiosity deepens.
11. Partner better
Stop rushing your thinking and work. Make time in your calendar to read, prepare ideas, review documents at least a day before the meeting. Your partnership with others improves: your better prepared, your questions and ideas are stronger. Read Seth Godin’s view on this here. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/06/when-is-it-due.html
12. Make work satisfying
If you began to do any of the items in this list, you will help to make work satisfying for others and yourself.
Paychecks are important. Meaningful relationships between manager and employees AND a paycheck is invaluable.
I wrote this post originally for the good people at 12 Most.
Photo courtesy of Khalilm