Here are three simple things anyone, especially in management or Leadership, can do to increase communication, context, and decision-making ability exponentially:
- Talk to your employees on a personal level. Listen to their ideas, and value them as people.
- Don’t just ask what they can do for you – ask what you can do for them!
- Get honest, constructive feedback, and act on it where appropriate
These three things can help change how culture works in a company, and help the company start the journey towards being an ecosystem.
What do they really amount to?
Making people in your company Stakeholders.
What do these things mean?
- Talking to people personally helps you care more about them, and helps them understand this. It avoids them becoming a mere component to you. If you also humanise yourself to them, they will care more about you as well, and you will find that translates to caring more about your business. This also steers away from the pitfalls of assumption – you assume less when you know someone better.
- Employees have come to expect that they give a lot and get little back in modern business. There’s little more disengaging and demotivating than this, and you won’t get their best! Having a genuine interest in their needs helps you understand their drivers better and thus manage better, and it lets then know they are getting value back from you. It truly promotes the realisation that you’re all in this together, and collaboration is the best way forward. Value doesn’t just come from monetary reward; it comes from job satisfaction, achievement, and integration. Consider this when you create “awards”.
- Leadership is habit-forming because it’s so immersed in the company, and it’s easy to become used to hearing only positivity, especially in a toxic culture that helps promote sycophantism. It’s important to get honest, grounded feedback from everyone, not just direct-line reports or peers, because it will help you understand what’s really going on within your company, and without too. This is also a great opportunity to get left-field ideas and suggestions which might spark some interesting thoughts and directions. Feedback benefits those who give it, but it also hugely benefits leadership. Just be sure that you then act appropriately; ignoring valid feedback is often worse than not asking in the first place! And if you don’t act if it’s valid, you only end up weakening your leadership and the organisation long-term. Don’t fall prey to inattentional blindness or hubris!
Why is all this important?
With a better understanding of individuals and the culture within an organisation, you are acknowledging that each agent within the system that makes up your company has an effect on the whole. If you work for your employees, and they know it, if you invest them in the company’s success and make it their success as well as yours, they will strive to make the company succeed – naturally.
Company Culture is crucial. It is made of the interactions between people, and is defined by the actions and inactions of Leaders. If the interactions are bad, and bad behaviour is supported by either action or inaction, the business is not as effective as it could be and the people aren’t as happy. Look at companies with toxic cultures, or that dehumanise and fully model decision-making – they are often mired in unhappiness, red tape, lack of innovation and progress, staff turnover and a hundred other problems. How is this beneficial?
Culture defines basic ethics, accountability, honesty, and whether people want to work there. If you have a good, open culture, you will get less gaming behaviour, less sycophantism, more accuracy for decisions, better grounding, and more investment – the ability to move forward as an organism aligned, not fighting itself.
Remember, people are becoming more aware that a company has to fit them, as well as their fitting the company. Ethics, accountability, humanity all matter, especially to the people beginning to make up not only the larger part of your workforce but your new customers as well. Creating an ecosystem makes people stakeholders on multiple levels.
Ecosystems are better for modern companies because they are in line with the changing values of business and individuals, but also because older bureaucracy and hierarchy is not capable of keeping up or innovating at the speed the modern market is.
This doesn’t mean Leadership loses power. It means Leadership gains valuable insight.
If you demand their all and extra work, and treat people as less important or even human, you won’t get their best, but if they have a better connection with you and are stakeholders in what you all do, they are more likely to give freely if their all and do extra – and you’ll get their best.
Explore the idea of working for your employees! Prove your worth, and they’ll prove theirs over and again.
If you want to talk more about leadership, decision-making and how to improve it, please reach out to me!