A question you should be asking as you lead a talented team of professionals is: “How do we become the kind of employer that the most talented people in our industry want to work for and grow with?” Many companies that are often seen as the best companies to work for from the outside are totally different once you get inside. I personally find some of the listed companies on the “Best Employer” list laughable, because they spend so much money marketing themselves as the best and as a result attract the best but then become a revolving door because of their real culture.
To change this, successful organisations become intentional about the kind of leadership they develop at every level of the organization. This is done by focussing on developing specific qualities and traits in their leaders throughout the organisation.
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Winning Culture Leadership Traits
As a leader you should adopt and regularly practice these simple yet profound leadership traits. If your organization has many levels and hence many leaders, you will do well to develop every leader to adopt these:
1. Fairness – Equal treatment without bias is one of the top traits that teams need from their leaders. Systems can go a long way to make this possible in most organisations, but people need to see fairness modelled in their leader’s treatment of people more than the adherence to policies.
2. Invitation to play – The best leaders to work for are the ones that go out of their way to invite all team members to play their part. They don’t just give speeches about how we all need to pitch in. They go to the individual and say I would like you to take this project forward or give a shy member a solo part that makes them stand out. By doing this they communicate their belief in the individual players and as a result they rise up to the occasion.
3. Acknowledgement – This is not to be mistaken with recognition. Recognition gives people certificates, bonuses, gift cards, trips and it’s often in public events to make people want to achieve more for the perk than the satisfaction. Recognition is good and important, but acknowledgement has a deeper impact on the individual’s self-worth. Acknowledgement is often as simple as a personal email saying, ‘Thank you James for the amazing job you did to get us this deal, it was your dedication that made us look our best.” Good leaders don’t take credit without acknowledging the ones that make them look good.
4. Push for excellence – Raising the bar and calling for the best from team members provides a challenging and an engaging environment. Winning culture leaders don’t relax standards so that everybody can feel cozy and comfortable, they do the opposite. They are very clear about the high standard to be attained and let everybody know what the score is and the goal to be achieved and push for delivery.
5. Celebrate victories – Celebrating team and personal milestones is the job of the leader not his/her secretary. Too many leaders delegate the celebration responsibility and so they fail to use it to create loyalty and camaraderie. Winning culture leaders pause to celebrate team successes as well as recognize big events in individuals lives on an ongoing basis, this in turn strengthens the bonds and creates a desire for more wins.
Think of these traits as different cards that you as a leader can play at different times as you lead in a winning culture. Approaching every situation with a question “what leadership card do I need to play now?” and doing it consistently will make it part of your DNA.
To create a winning environment as a leader always remember: All of us want to work where we can:
- Be treated fairly.
- Be given the opportunity to prove ourselves.
- Be acknowledged for our hard work.
- Be challenged and stimulated for growth.
- Be part of a vibrant community.
As a leader you play an active role in making this a reality in your organisation. A winning culture is not as complicated as we often want to make it, but since it is dependent on human beings (leaders) not just systems it is often harder to attain though not impossible.
Contact the TomorrowToday Global team and ask for Buhle to come around and discuss how to Create a Winning Culture, and Unleashing Your Greatness.