Do you struggle with internal organizational politics? Is your team afraid to accept accountability and eager to place blame? It might be time to examine your company culture. Creating culture is not an exterior force or superficial social dynamic. It begins between the eyes and ears of your typical employee and is embodied by your organization’s leaders.
Culture expert Dr. Laura Gallaher recommends approaching accountability by practicing vulnerability as a leader and asking your team about what matters to them. Through this practice, you can create an environment of psychological safety. Once your employees feel comfortable with their imperfections and mistakes, they can build healthy teams that are not afraid to practice vulnerability themselves.
A company’s building blocks are the people that make up the organization. Once they are in an environment built on mutual respect, where they can grow and build relationships, they can identify themselves as a part of the company and develop a drive and bond to help the company achieve its goals. Teams that can come together and tackle challenges in a respectful manner can also work alongside different teams in the same way – leading to a thriving organization as a whole.
When this type of vulnerability is put into place, your company can shift from pointing fingers to problem-solving. Florida-based Stax, fka Fattmerchant, has taken these approaches and has noticed radical changes in the effectiveness of their employees when it comes to teamwork. If something goes wrong, their departments and their employees don’t blame each other. Instead, they have candid discussions where each team member, regardless of their title, says what they could have differently. They repeat this process until tangible solutions are found. Their vulnerability as a group opens the door to accountability – and, as a result, more effective business solutions.
As a leader, your responsibility in facilitating this type of culture is more than providing an office ping pong table and relying on middle management. Culture disseminates from the top down. Your job is to practice vulnerability and self-awareness daily. It’s asking questions such as, “how am I perceived in a group,” or “how do I handle dissenting opinions?”. True culture change can only occur when leaders hold themselves accountable to the same standards to which they hold their teams. When your employees feel comfortable at work, and your teams work in harmony, you can claim outstanding company culture. Until then, keep the fun perks but work on your openness in leading.
This is Part 2 in our Executive Summit Series. Go back to the series overview here.
Dr. Laura Gallaher started the Gallaher Edge to transform people and organizations from the inside out. Apply the science of human behavior to your organization and visit gallaheredge.com.
Dr. Laura Gallaher