Business leaders today have a lot on their minds – and on their plates.

They juggle hiring challenges. Mask mandates. Retaining talented players. Vaccine guidelines. Supply chain issues. Generating revenue. All these tasks are demanding, requiring attention and intention every minute.

Yes, these are important considerations in today’s business environment. However, they are not the ONLY important considerations.

Leaders may have a preconceived notion about these considerations: “This is my sole job: managing results.”

When leaders are immersed in tasks like these, they may ignore reports that things aren’t going well in their work culture.

If leaders learn about bosses behaving badly, most don’t want to deal with it. Another preconceived notion takes over: a perception that “managing results is more important” or “it can’t be that bad” or “HR will handle it.”

Such preconceived notions are deeply flawed. The reality is that there is NOTHING more important for leaders to pay attention to than disrespect in their workplace.

Here are two recent examples where preconceived notions may have contributed to bad boss behavior was enabled.

Eric Lander, the top White House scientist, resigned on February 14 after a months-long investigation found he regularly bullied subordinates – particularly women and people of color.

It’s good that Lander resigned. What is not good is how long it took to address his toxic behavior. Complaints were filed last year – yet Lander’s was not challenged to treat people respectfully. It is likely a preconceived notion that “Eric is rough around the edges” allowed him to stay in his role.

California State University chancellor Joseph Castro resigned on February 17 after an investigation found he mishandled years of sexual harassment, bullying, and retaliation complaints against a senior administrator while Castro was president of CSU Fresno. Castro hired this administrator. A preconceived notion that “Frank means no harm” would explain Castro’s lack of interest in addressing the problem.

Don’t let preconceived notions dissuade you from engaging willingly in workplace issues that arise. Results are certainly important – and they’re exactly HALF the leader’s job. The other half? Ensuring everyone is treated with respect, every day.

This is episode one hundred and one of my Culture Leadership Charge video series. In these concise videos, I share proven practices for building and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where good comes first.

You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge and Good Comes First episodes and more on my YouTubeiTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe.

Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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