Transform your organizational culture by teaching managers to care

“Culture is what happens when the managers leave the room – doing what’s right in the absence of authority.”

Vala Afshar, Chief Customer Officer and CMO at Enterasys

There is often the ill-conceived notion that if you treat your employees too nicely or with too much respect, your effectiveness as a manager is weakened. Time and again, managers are told that they can’t be well-liked and run a successful company at the same time.

In fact, quite the opposite happens. The more managers are trying to distance themselves from emotional involvement or respectful leadership, they erode their organizational culture, driving their company further away from the success they want.

Modern leadership is based on inspirational leadership and employee/leader identification. If managers care, employees will too.

The psychology of caring

All human beings have an inherent need to feel in control of their lives and of situations. Some managers may feel more strongly about this than others, but that doesn’t have to dictate every aspect of their leadership style.

We also have an inherent need to feel competent, to feel valued and for our work to matter. Sometimes, managers feel compelled to constantly assert their competence, forgetting the emotional aspect of workplace relationships.

At the same time, humans are driven by a need to relate, to socially interact with others. Building relationships is part of our nature and getting emotionally involved in what we do comes naturally, admittedly to some more than others.

All of these psychological needs manifest themselves in our life and our work. But sometimes they clash. And in the case of managers, it can make them distant, detached leaders or it can make them respectful and involved.

Managers make the difference

Managers who care about their team and get emotionally involved in what they do gain the respect and trust of their employees. They will be followed and they will inspire. In an abstract discussion, you might think Maybe I don’t want to be inspiring, I just want to get the job done. But the dynamic of your team can be significantly different when they look up to you.

Differences such as productivity levels, going beyond the call of “must-do”, innovating, working together and sharing information. Staying.

Employee engagement and employee retention have now become top-of-mind issues for managers and HR directors all over the world. In today’s market you have to get more and more competitive. You need to adapt. And to do that, you need to attract, engage and retain the best people.

In their daily interactions with employees, direct managers are the key to engaging employees. They can set the tone of the entire organizational culture.

Transform your organizational culture

Leadership and culture are intertwined aspects of a workplace. Culture is created organically, from the makeup of the people who work in that organization and the behaviors that keep it functional. But that key element of culture, the people, are selected, developed and influenced by their leaders.

“I believe that by being deliberate about what you value, about the atmosphere, about the culture that exists, you can shape the behaviours of people, you can choose the types of people that you want within an organisation and thus create the right type of culture for your business or organisation.”

David DeWolf, Founder and CEO, 3Pillar Global

Effective leaders are participative, team-oriented and humane-oriented. That’s the view that 5,940 respondents to a survey from the Center for Creative Leadership. All three generations, part of the current workplace, have agreed that the leader they want and need is focused on collaboration, inclusiveness, developing cohesion and helping others.

Consideration and respect are the core traits that can help your leadership body drive an organizational culture of results through people. Leaders who respect others opinions, who help teams work together and be effective and who show compassion towards others at work.

To transform and improve your organizational culture, encourage leaders to:

  • Involve their teams in decision making processes;
  • Be positive;
  • Communicate and be open to suggestions;
  • Support teams by offering and receiving constructive feedback;
  • Practicing gratitude and celebrating successes;
  • Connecting teams and encouraging respectful team work;
  • Empower employees to give their best without being blocked by hierarchical barriers;
  • Develop the next generation of leaders in the same spirit and culture.

All too often leadership development programs are focused only on technical skills and formal training. Make sure that you teach your managers to care and practice respectful leadership, if you want to build a culture of success through people.

Nurture key values and behaviors that foster collaboration and compassion in the workplace.

What has been your experience with managers who care and aren’t afraid to show it?

Image via under C.C.0 license