For years now we have heard company managers and execs talk about the loss of work ethic, team work and loyalty in their companies. A lack of pride in coming to work and a lack of culture at the work place. People just checking in to check out again. All these issues are real problems for any organization. So, how do we overcome this?
Let’s talk about creating a culture of excellence, what does that look like? A culture of excellence will look different from organization to organization, but the principles will be very similar. The common principles will be team cohesion, understanding and striving towards the vision, and accountability in everyone. A culture of excellence can only be achieved if it is realized from the very bottom to the very top of the organization. How do we achieve a culture of excellence? Strong leadership.
A culture of strong leadership = a culture of excellence. Here’s why:
1) Strong Leadership will Generate Strong Team Cohesion – Strong leaders will employ their whole team, and employ them effectively. They are good delegators who can effectively break the pie of work up and give the right pieces to the right individuals. They will ensure everyone understands the importance they play in the bigger picture. They will play to their people’s strengths and help develop their short comings. Strong leaders understand human dynamics and are good at mediating conflicts in a way that will be, as best as possible, a win – win for parties involved – but will always be fair. Strong leaders develop leadership in their people, which is another way of saying they develop people. Strong leaders will ensure their team will achieve its goals; winning is a catalyst for winning.
2) Strong Leadership will Keep Everyone Focused on the Vision – The vision of the organization is what pulls the organization. Without a clearly communicated vision, chaos will ensue. A strong vision and everyone’s buy into the vision will help the organization weather many storms. Strong leaders are effective communicators and motivators. They understand the greater vision and direction of the organization and do their best to help communicate these to their team. When the whole team understands and buys into the vision, the pathway to initiative and ingenuity at the individual level will emerge.
3) Strong Leadership will Develop Accountability in Everyone – Strong leaders lead by example. They can demand excellence from their team because they demand the same from themselves. Accountability is a leadership trait that does not require any followers, it is purely intrinsic and should be fostered in every individual in the organization. Strong leaders will see to this. A team with a strong sense of accountability instilled in every individual is a team that does not need to be watched over as much, does not need to be pushed a much, and will create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect along the whole chain of command. Accountability is the difference between saying it will get done and actually getting it done. Strong leadership is the only way to grow this.
Strong Leadership does not magically appear. Many organizations understand this and are trying various ways to make strong leaders and develop that culture of excellence. Some do it with ‘team building’, some with retreats and some with social events. These are all great ways to start the ball rolling and are usually pretty fun, but normally, are short lived. We would like to suggest a more direct and sustained approach, leadership training. For everyone. Now let us clarify, we are not talking about teaching leadership, we are talking about training. Training is continuous, practical and will actually change the dynamic of a person. High performers do not just learn how to do things, they train on them. Strong leadership is based on principles and is developed through practice. Knowledge alone will not do the trick. We at Leader School understand this, we understand how to develop, train and grow Leaders. And we want to do this with everyone, from the bottom to the top: A Culture of Strong Leadership = A Culture of Excellence.
CEO and Founder
If you're on this site, you probably are open to personal development. After all, this is a personal development site for those who are, or want to be, great leaders. So you may ask yourself the question, "if I had to focus on one skill to develop, what would that be?"
While there's a vast amount of skills to develop in order to achieve all star leadership status, if we had to put all our eggs into one basket of skill it'd have to be communication. We are now going to drop 3 truth bombs to explain why we think this.
1) If you can't effectively communicate your vision, you're doomed to fail. There's a Murphy's Law that states, "anything that can be misunderstood, will be." It's almost funny how true this rings. The members on your team, no matter what type of personalities they possess, generally want to do well. People for the most part aren't actively seeking to watch the world burn. What we've found is that people will do what you've asked... actually they'll do what they think you've asked. The inability for a leader to transfer their vision onto their team is the #1 reason why that team will not achieve the desired outcome. Think of it like a house; if the walls are the respective outputs of the members of the team, and the roof is the results, the foundation is the team's understanding of your vision. If you haven't communicated your vision or intent correctly, the walls will be skewed, or misaligned and your roof will collapse, or just not be able to be built in the first place. Your team will act on what they perceive is your intent, which may be way off from what your intent actually is. Thus, your communication skills better be damn good. Truth bomb 1, away.
2) If your team's communication game is tight, your team will run tight. Imagine this: you're able to effectively communicate your plan, your team totally grasps what you're saying and understands your intent. They, being the smart people they are, see a hole in your plan or something that needs adjustment. They then professionally and constructively point this out to you in a way that is non-threatening (ego wise, not physically wise) because they too can communicate very well. You understand what they're saying and agree on their point because the correction they're advising you on will help you achieve your end state in a better way. Now your plan is solid, your team gets the job done more efficiently, the members on your team feel significant, and from the outside, you and your team look like rock stars. Strong communication skills and a strong communication infrastructure (this means the ability for all members to communicate) for all members of your team will do a few things: it will allow the timely and accurate flow of information, it will ensure every member of the team can be heard (the leader isn’t the only one who has ideas) and it will facilitate the motivation of individuals as well as induce good team cohesion. The ability for your team to communicate openly and effectively will greatly increase the success rate of your team. Truth bomb 2, away.
3) And finally, we are going to give our final pitch as to why communication is your single most important skill by looking at what a lack of communication could do. Almost every problem in your organization can be linked right back to poor communication somewhere along the line. Whether it was a missed deadline, an opportunity missed or a ball that had been completely dropped, poor communication was most likely to blame. Poor communication has cost lives in war, cost money in business and cost jobs in industry. Poor communication in your organization will cost you and your team dearly and has the highest potential to cause failure, more than any other personal skill. Truth bomb 3, away.
We are going to make an assumption here and say that you are now convinced.
So if this is the most important skill, it's time to develop it. This isn't going to be easy, good communication skills need to be learned, practiced and integrated into the fabric of how you and your team interacts. You, as the leader, are solely responsible in ensuring that you are communicating effectively with your team and that your team is communicating effectively with each other and you.
For more information on how to train on your communication, visit www.leaderschool.ca and ask about our team building and communication enhancing training program.