My mission on this earth is to help leaders to 1) understand the incredible power of corporate culture to drive performance and employee work passion, and 2) proactively manage their desired culture, every day.
Two very relevant articles caught my eye this week. Both articles highlighted senior leaders who, in their vastly different organizations, created corporate cultures that resulted in poor performance, poor morale, day-to-day frustration . . . and worse.
The first article described how the head of the USA’s Missile Defense Agency mismanaged his office, harassed and bullied senior staff, and failed in his leadership of the Pentagon’s largest program. A scathing investigation and report found the commander regularly yelled and screamed obscenities at subordinates (too often in public), demeaned employees, and created such a difficult work environment that at least six senior staff have left the MDA under his regime. Particularly telling: in 2011, the MDA was ranked 228 out of 241 “best places to work in the federal government” according to the Partnership for Public Service.
The second article described how the ex-CEO of France Telecom was indicted by a court in Paris this week over allegations that he “led a culture of bullying and harassment that resulted in the suicide of at least 35 employees.” Many employees felt desperate and depressed during the CEO’s aggressive restructuring. Most of those who died left notes blaming pressure at work for their actions. We will see how this court case plays out – but the fact that an investigation found evidence supporting these charges is truly astounding.
How Safe and Inspiring is Your Organization’s Culture?
Most bosses are not tyrants – yet some can have very negative impact on employee performance and work passion. Margie Blanchard, co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies, strongly believes that “people are doing the best they can” at work every day. I believe that is true – and, unless bosses are tuned in to employee perceptions, workplaces may not be as safe and inspiring as their leaders think they are.
Influencing efforts by senior leaders don’t always have the expected consequences. Leaders must check in on how employees are doing AND feeling to ensure the leader’s efforts are helping, not hurting or hindering, employee performance and passion for their work.
What separates mediocre or even OK bosses from great bosses? Great bosses demonstrate servant leadership. Servant leaders know that their effectiveness is solely measured by their employees’:
- Understanding of the business’ vision (future state) and purpose (present state)
- Continued refinement of skills to meet/exceed customer requirements of company products and services
- Satisfaction with work relationships (with peers and boss), and
- Feeling of safety and inspiration at work, every day.
How well does your team or organization’s culture inspire employee connection, performance, and work passion? Tell us in the comments section below.
Get your FREE EXCERPT from my new book, #POSITIVITY AT WORK tweet, written with the delightful Lisa Zigarmi. View our video on why we wrote the book, understand the research on positivity in the workplace, and more!
Photo © iStockphoto.com/yuri_arcurs