Are you setting the tone?

As a leader you set the tone for the way people around you behave. They are modelling your cues far more than you think. Leaders exemplify the culture they want to create; the way we do things around here.

Dianne set the tone of valuing her team members. She took an interest in everyone on her team, not just her leadership group. She held regular skip-level meetings where she found out what was important to people, heard their concerns and took on board their suggestions and feedback. She backed her leadership team and made herself accessible to them. She regularly took the opportunity to visit individual team members to say thank you for a specific result they had achieved that had made a difference, small or large. People glowed from her acknowledgement. If team members put forward a suggestion for improvement, she encouraged them to give it a go and told them to move on if it does not work out. She believed in people and invited them to step up to take on bigger challenges and in the process, develop their leadership capability.

Diane had a sense of humility about her. She knew that she was only as good as the team she had around her and that it was her job to get the best out of them. She created a culture where egos were put aside in the interests of the bigger game of achieving game-changing results. Her employee engagement survey results were always high while other parts of the business struggled with staff retention. Everyone wanted to work on Diane’s team. Even though Diane has now retired from an executive career, her influence continues through the people she worked with who continue to model the tone she set of valuing people.

Research by Zenger Folkman has shown the strong influence leaders have on setting the tone of an organisation and they suggest that a focus on leadership development could improve company culture. They found that leaders impact every measurable business outcome: employee engagement, innovation, intention to stay, productivity, sales, performance, and customer satisfaction. They use the metaphor of leaders, ” the rudder of a large ship moving through the water. Even though the leadership team is a relatively small part of an organization, they have enormous influence on its direction and in short, they shape the culture.”

Are you setting the tone?

Best regards, Brian

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