Something I face regularly is the under estimation that Business Leaders have of the power of a company’s culture both on the positive and negative side of the things. A work culture can enable change & innovation or act as a barrier for progress. A work culture can help everyone grow or even destroy lives.
I see business leaders bragging about their always-on work ethos, while not digging deeper that this is likely to the fact that they are micromanaging their business, rather than leading it. I see businesses having the right work life balance policies but then a huge disconnect between written policy and the actual culture in the company. If the tune from the top is that the company always comes first you are unwittingly sending a message to your employees that they’d be stigmatized if they didn’t do the same and that will likely be marginalized in their career advancement and perceived as being less committed to their job if they show commitment to other aspects of their life, like for example being a good parent.
Such cultures and behaviours perpetuate unhealthy and, frankly, unrealistic expectations from your employees or team members breeding a company culture that’s shrouded in lies and built on burnout.
Add to that the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic amplified this reality and made things worse. Many employees needed support to manage others aspects of their life, from mental health issues to dealing with the fact that schools went virtual. Business leaders who don’t support their employees by having a supporting culture in the business, risk losing them to companies that do. Retaining talented employees starts by understanding, talking and listening to them to uncover their struggles. This will help employees feel encouraged to face their fears and have honest conversations with management, however uncomfortable, about what they need.
Research has shown that successful leaders adopt a growth and learning mindset and culture, both for themselves and for the business. So as a business leader make sure to be humble and to be open to push forward an enabling rather than a restrictive culture. So if you as a business leader are able to bring your authentic self to work, where for example you make it clear that you will embrace a health work-life balance philosophy, it will set the tone for the company culture, as at the end of the day it takes leaders and managers throughout any organization to set the right example for their employees. We must be cognizant of the attitudes and behaviors that compound to create a stressful culture for everyone. If leaders and managers don’t draw boundaries, then nobody else in the company will, either. So, as a leader, be vulnerable, honest, and empathetic about your life outside your working role.
The first boss I ever had, once said to me, Silvan make sure you set your priorities right. If anything happens to you, they will substitute you at work within the week whilst your loved one will likely never get over it. Needless to say, I worked for that boss with all the energy and commitment I ever had. His humane culture made me more committed to him and my job, not less.
May I remind you on this Upcoming Webinar: Do you lead or Micromanage?