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Sunday, July 25, 2010

BEYOND THE CUBICLE – CORPORATE CULTURE: How Do You Measure Up as an Effective Leader?

Beyond the Cubicle - Corporate Culture with Teri Aulph

Regardless if you are CEO of a Fortune 100 company or an entrepreneur leading a handful of employees, to be truly effective you must possess an understanding of your leadership style and the affect it has on your organization. Your company can be highly successful on the financial side, with a forecast for tremendous growth, and still have a culture with low morale. Why should this matter to you?

The bottom line…sustainable success is driven by effective leadership. It is easy to get swept away when times are great and lose focus of the underlying framework (talent) supporting that success. When the economy turns around and jobs are more plentiful, unsatisfied employees will seek greener grass. Most companies have leaned down to the point that EVERY position is critical.

Turnover is not only costly financially, but can quickly create a talent gap that is difficult to fill. The longer the gap is open, the more risky the exposure. Companies void of strong leadership are especially vulnerable as the possibility of a mass exodus looms with the resurgence of open positions.

So, how does your leadership style measure up against the following criteria?

1. Acts with Humility
Nobody wants to work for a jerk. If you are self-obsessed and power hungry, you will become your own worst enemy. Understanding that YOU are not the business will equip you to be more objective. Otherwise, you will run the risk of creating a climate of fear and drive people to tell you what you want to hear, as opposed to the truth. Maintaining a balance of head and heart will keep your ego in check.

2. Stands Strong in the Face of Adversity Focused on Solving Problems
An effective leader validates information and knows whom best to surround himself/herself with to solve the problem. This, of course, requires you know where your talent lies. The leader then sets out to implement a plan with the help of his/her team. If additional problems are uncovered, the same process is repeated. Great leaders are relentless about finding the best solutions.

3. Constantly Supports Improvement
The companies most likely to survive, even when there are shifts that affect their industries, are the ones constantly focused on improvement. This culture of continual renewal, improvement, and learning starts at the top. Leaders who are constantly looking for ways to educate their employees, customers and suppliers remain open to better ways of doing things. They are less likely to fall into the trap, “This is the way we have always done things”, which will lay a foundation for stagnation and, ultimately, their demise.

4. Is Fiscally Sound
One of the most common reasons for business failure is overspending. A very wise executive in the automotive industry once lived by the mantra, ‘take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves’. His team heard this so much that every significant purchase was predicated by ‘can we afford this?’ or ‘is there a way to do this without the expense?’ This may seem a ‘given’ in our volatile economic climate, but we continue to witness business failure – large and small – due to mismanagement of finances. An effective leader is fiscally conservative when times are good and bad.

5. Communicates Consistently and with Clarity
Being a strong leader is not easy. However, one of the most important responsibilities of an effective leader is to effectively communicate. It is crucial that your messages match with your actions. You cannot state you care about employees and never engage with them. The success of your business is dependent upon your ability to communicate the strategy or vision of your company. In order for your employees to focus their efforts in the desired direction, they must understand what that direction looks like. Developing a compelling and inspiring message will motivate people to follow you.

6. Approachability
If you want to know what’s really going on inside your business, you must be leader in whom people are not afraid to give bad news. A predictable personality will send a message of security among your workforce. If you can balance your serious business behavior with a healthy sense of humor, you will create a culture of loyalty and honesty. Leaders earn employee trust by demonstrating respect and honesty. Great leaders are consistent in the way they communicate, which establishes a trust that is necessary in order to weather good times and difficult times.

For more information, please visit Teri's TNNWC Bio.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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