If you manage people, do you think they work harder for you? I remember hearing a worker’s experience at his company. The worker had an urgent request for his manager. He had some paperwork that had to be completed quickly. What did the manager do? He said, “Ok. I’ll see what I can do.” Then, with an impassive stare, he took the paperwork, lifted all the papers in his inbox and put the urgent project on the bottom. I kid you not! This said volumes about that department’s culture. What culture are you creating at your company?
I’ve been lucky enough to work for some great people. Oddly enough, I would have said great companies, but what I’ve found is that it’s not the company that makes the difference. It’s the person you work for that does. If you work for someone who gets it, then you have a great work culture. If you work for a petty, small-minded bureaucrat, you are going to have problems.
What’s your company culture like? Is it one where people are cordial and friendly with each other? Do people even feel like it’s Ok to be friendly with others? I’ve been working with a variety of companies and the ones who are successful definitely have a certain type of culture. Here’s one that comes to mind.
Just imagine you work for a leader who shows he cares. Would you work harder for that kind of leader? I’ll bet you would. This manager knows that one of his employees has extensive food allergies. He likes to keep his staff fed during long meetings, but this one employee can’t eat the delicious pastries he brings in. Once he found out about the food allergy, he found a local bakery that made delicious, gluten-free products. The next meeting, he told the group, “I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the meetings so I found these muffins for Erin.” That’s someone who cares about his people. Isn’t that a wonderful way to build a great company culture?
Now imagine your boss disagreed with you on the recommended strategy for a project. What do you think would happen? Would you have to give up your recommendation and defer to your boss’s idea? For many organizations, that would be the way it would be done. That’s too bad. A great leader values a different kind of company culture. The culture he creates is one where he recognizes that he doesn’t have all the answers. By really listening with an open mind, the great leader shows that his subordinates can have good ideas, too. Their thinking is just as valuable as his. He actually lets them take charge and overrule his ideas. That’s another sign of a great company culture.
Then there’s the boss who only asks his staff to do what he is willing to do himself. Does he work late? Yes. Sit in the cubicle farm with everyone else? Ditto. How about makes the coffee for everyone else? That too. That’s a guy who really gets it. Yes, Glenn, that’s you.