Traditional corporate cultures are no longer adequate to succeed in the new world of business. Cultures that originated in the era of the industrial revolution are now obsolete precisely because they discourage learning, change and innovation.
A huge demand exists for a new type of culture in our organizations today in order to become productive, profitable and sustainable well into the future.
Why culture is critical
Workplace wellness isn’t just a factor of the employees fitness or BMI ratings, it is particularly characterized by how motivated, inspired and engaged the workforce are to do great work. Key indicators of healthy workplaces are the presence of creativity and innovation and an energy of possibility – which all result in a positive, sustainable culture.
Unhealthy cultures tend to devalue creativity, stifle innovation and leave their workers feeling miserable and frustrated, stuck in the rut of the daily grind and stressed by the demands of productivity they no longer have the energy to face. Managers tend to create these cultures by discouraging new ideas, frowning on change and stymieing enthusiasm. The result, major disengagement that sucks the life out of the organization and its people.
The best culture is a UQ culture
While understanding and managing culture is fundamental to success, for many organizations, the idea of going down the road of a ‘cultural change’ initiative is too daunting. It needn’t be. It is possible to convert low-engagement teams and cultures into engaged, high-performance UQ Cultures with some intent and a slight shift focus.
In UQ (Uniqueness Quotient) Cultures there is a subtle shift to WHO people are rather than WHAT they do. That is, WHO they are is more important than WHAT they do. A strong UQ culture shapes how employees perform and gives them a strong sense of purpose.
What is a UQ culture? It’s one that is powered by an inner force, it’s who they are and why they do what they do, it’s one that has a unique, competitive edge. In today’s crowded marketplace organizations need to be able to stand out as Unique and different from their competition with a unique brand. A strong UQ culture is the key to setting a business apart from its competition and ultimately attracting and retaining high quality employees to grow with the organization.
With companies large and small competing for the same global talent pool, a UQ Culture will set them apart and deliver tangible, measurable benefits to any business.
Micro-managers Kill Culture
Micro-managers or Container Managers are those managers who find it hard to let go of the reins, to trust the team and get out of the way. In some ways, this is counter-intuitive and atypical of traditional role models and therefore understandable, however in high performing UQ Cultures there is always more macro managing than there is micro-management.
Container Managers are typically good at doing what has to be done. They are good at dealing with facts and not letting their emotions or other people’s emotions get in the way of making a decision. They are great at developing procedures, implementing plans, and no-one can do the job as good as they can. However, their tendency to hold onto decision-making and undertake jobs that could be delegated is not conducive to the creation of a UQ culture full of motivated, inspired, and engaged staff.
Container managers are typically responsible for the bottleneck in organizations, where innovation is stymied and ideas are shelved. They may be producing revenue and results however they rarely create a leadership pipeline, are reliant on the command and control approach and can ill-afford time off as their teams become co-dependent. This approach may have worked in 1965 but it will not allow a company to survive in 2020.
The New Leadership Alternative
One way for organizations to begin to shape and construct a more positive and productive UQ culture is to start with its managers and leaders – importantly with those in linchpin positions – in middle management.
In their book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown discuss how great leaders extract at least two times more capability from their people than poor leaders.
A UQ culture is one that does just that by turning managers into Expander Leaders who live by the motto that you have to give power to empower.
Expander Leaders value inclusiveness and participation, they hand over the decision-making process, and let their employees govern themselves. Expander Leaders deal with the facts, but also consider how it impacts people. They listen to their employees, realize their strengths, tap into their potential, and include them in the growth of business.
Expander leaders create healthy relationships, a caring environment and an openness to trying new things which brings out best in their team. By appreciating others, engaging in purposeful conversations and helping their people to find work they love to do, they create driven, loyal employees who are engaged and energized, and want to make a valuable contribution to the organization and go the extra mile.
Essentially, it takes an attitude of figuring out how best to serve the teams, rather than asking the teams to best serve you. ~Heidi Alexandra Pollard Tweet this!
Expander leaders create UQ Cultures by:
- Telling their people WHAT needs to be done and WHY but letting them figure out HOW
- Not shooting them down for any crazy ideas, instead COACHING them to find ways to improve or refine their ideas
- Treating their people as human BEINGS not DOINGS and getting to know their Uniqueness and what makes them tick
- Not only TELLING them what to do all the time, instead ASKING them how they envision the future and how they would create a more successful, sustainable company.
- Encouraging rebellion, creativity and risk-taking
- Recognizing and rewarding achievement, progress and innovative behaviors
Do you consider yourself an Expander Leader? In what way have you contributed to your team? Share your thoughts below.