What do You do when no-one is looking?
This is the first question I ask when I go into a new organisation. This will tell me more about the person, the place and the values than any plaque on a wall or words on a website!
That’s because company culture is all about our behaviours: How we actually live and work, what values we show to each other in our daily interactions. It is NOT what we saywe do or what is done just when the boss is there!
Company culture is a code we follow as workers in a place – often unknowingly! And unsurprisingly, this code is set from the top.
Great cultures are thought about, shared and insisted upon as minimum standards – not high expectations we are ‘trying’ to achieve. If we have the value of Respect – as a minimum this should be shown at all times, by everyone!
I know that some of you reading this will snort “But it’s the boss that’s the problem!” and more often than not that is actually true.
I have experienced organisations, that thrived when the boss was on holiday. The atmosphere totally changed. People were relaxed, more sociable and more work was being done! True collaboration took place as there was time to discuss the work, roles, issues etc instead of feeling the ‘need’ to get back to your desk and ‘look’ like you’re working.
This doesn’t mean they were a bad boss!
Management often have pressures and targets that other staff are not aware of. They manage their teams in isolation of the bigger picture.
Instead, where possible, this information should be shared with staff – after all, it is the team that delivers for them. Why keep them in the dark? As a manager or leader, they need to equip them with the time and resources to do the task, ensure the expectations are clear and achievable, manage timelines, have regular check-ins, tackle issues quickly and be approachable if something unexpected happens.
By sharing the bigger picture, by empowering the team and giving them the acknowledgement of work and effort put in, you build trust and respect from your team – who in turn will work harder as they know that their efforts and input – irrespective of the total outcome – is seen and appreciated!
These types of teams, with these types of leaders, when no one is looking are working just the same as any other time. The manager/leader/boss is simply another member of the team with their role to play and is valued as much as any other team member. The assumption is that everyone is trying to do their best, and the team need to work to help everyone do their best.