Tag Archives | Servant leadership

Leading a purposeful, positive, productive culture

happy creative team writing on stickers at officeHow much attention does your organization’s culture enjoy each day? If your business is like most across the globe, culture isn’t even on the radar.

Yet culture – the quality of the work environment, how people treat each other, the norms that guide daily behavior and activities – is growing in importance. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report, “few factors contribute more to business success than culture.” Their research indicates that 87 percent of business leaders believe that culture is important. 54 percent believe culture is very important – nine percentage points higher than their 2015 study.

Culture is a business issue. It drives everything that happens in your organizations, for better or worse. Why don’t leaders make culture a priority? They don’t know how. They’ve never been asked to manage culture. Deloitte’s study found that only 28 percent of respondents believe they understand their current culture well. Only 19 percent believe they have the “right” culture!

Download-the-PDF

Culture matters! Whether you’re a small business owner, team leader, department head, regional executive, CEO of a multi-national, or anything in between, you need to spend time and energy on culture.

If leaders want a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where team members thrive and LOVE to come to work – leaders must invest time in examining their current culture and refining that current culture.

My proven culture refinement process helps leaders understand their current culture, define their desired culture, and close gaps to make their desired culture a reality.

The process starts with discovery. I interview all senior leaders and often next level leaders to learn how the culture – of their leadership team and of the overall organization – operates today. I review employee survey results and performance trends. I analyze this information and craft an interview summary and recommendations document that all leaders review in advance of our face-to-face kickoff session.

While these interviews are happening, leaders read select chapters of my book, The Culture Engine, and complete the worksheets in the back of those chapters to prepare for our kickoff.

During our two-day face-to-face “culture refinement process” kickoff session, leaders discuss the interview summary and recommendations, noting their top three most urgent gaps to address. They share their personal servant purpose, values, and behaviors, typically learning that many on the team share the same purpose and values.

They then begin defining their desired culture by formalizing their organizational constitution: their servant purpose (who the company serves and ‘to what end’ besides making money), their values and behaviors (measurable behaviors that indicate they’re modeling their values), their strategies, and goals.

As most organizations have some form of strategies and goals in place, those elements are easy. The other elements – servant purpose, values, and behaviors – are foreign to most organizations and leaders. Crafting those is hard work! Finishing those will take time after the kickoff session.

For example, one leadership team I’m working with set aside two hours each Monday morning to work on their servant purpose, values, and behaviors. After three meetings, they’ve crafted a solid servant purpose, defined three of their five values, and specified three measurable behaviors for each of those three values. They’re making great progress!

And, the CEO told me, the team is behaving much differently than before the kickoff. “There’s less ‘me’ and more ‘we,'” he said. They’re engaging in this challenging work together. They’re debating ideas while honoring their peers. They’re making sure every voice is heard – not just the confident extroverted voices.

They’re treating each other with trust, dignity, and respect, in every interaction. All in three weeks’ time.

A purposeful, positive, productive culture won’t happen by default. It only happens by design. What are you waiting for? Your desired culture is within reach.

Do people treat others with trust, respect, and dignity in your organization, in every interaction? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Syda Productions – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

Hire great leaders with these tips

Manager Congratulating Member Of Staff In Meeting

You put your business and culture at risk with every hire. If the leaders or team members you bring into your team do not embrace your organization’s common goals and shared values, then trust, respect, and dignity are eroded.

What happens when team members feel distrusted, discounted, or dismissed? They quit and leave, or – worse – they quit and stay.

Team member productivity drops. Self-preservation jumps. Cooperation diminishes. Doing the minimum seems like a good way to cope.

That’s no way to run a successful, sustainable business.

What is the most important hiring decisions you make? Who to put “in charge” of a team. A bad leadership hire – a self-centered, prideful individual – destroys team spirit, cooperation, and creative service. A brilliant leadership hire – an individual that demonstrates authentic care, grace, humor, and accountability – creates a purposeful, positive, productive team culture.

Download-the-PDF

What do great leaders do? They act daily on their primary responsibility to remove team members’ frustrations. They genuinely enjoy their team members. They laugh with (not at) team members. They celebrate team members’ efforts and accomplishments, not just at work but in the community and at home, too. They give credit rather than giving blame. They lovingly hold team members accountable for results and service. They don’t tolerate rude, aggressive, or self-serving behaviors by anyone on their team.

If all your leaders operated like this, how would it help your business? My experience and research indicates that an aligned culture with caring leaders boosts employee engagement by 40 percent, customer service by 40 percent, and results and profits by 35 percent.

That’s a powerful, positive impact.

How can you hire more genuine, caring, inspiring leaders? During your interview process, don’t focus exclusively on past accomplishments or accolades – focus equally on these tips:

Values and Behaviors – Ask leader candidates to describe their personal life values – principles that guide their day-to-day living. Ask for examples of their behaviors – plans, decisions, and actions – that model their life values or principles. Ask how they handle people they meet and interact with who hold very different values and behaviors. How kind are they? How aggressive are they?

Leadership Philosophy – Ask leader candidates to describe their leadership philosophy. What are their reasons for being a leader? What results are they striving for from their team? Who do they serve – and how? What does that candidate expect of team members? What can team members expect of the candidate? Ask yourself, “Is servant leadership a core foundation of their philosophy?”

Relationships – Ask leader candidates how they gauge the quality of their relationships with team members they’re leading. Which are the candidates’ most important relationships at work? How do they handle disagreement from team members? What do they do regularly to build and maintain positive, professional relationships with team members?

These are not “normal” interview questions or conversations. You might find that candidates are not prepared to answer these questions – you might stun them into silence! However, if you don’t inquire about these important foundational ideas, you may find you’ve made a hiring mistake – again.

Your business, your staff, and your customers all deserve the best leaders you can attract. Try these ideas out with your next leadership hire – and let me know what you learn.

Would these tips improve the quality of your hiring of leaders? What has been the impact of great/OK/lousy leader hiring in your past organizations? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

Do What GREAT Bosses Do

Great Bosses SurveyAre you a GREAT Boss? Updated research from my GREAT Boss Assessment shows leaders around the world have some work to do to be effective servant leaders.

In my ebook, Be a GREAT Boss (available free to my subscribers), I describe the five characteristics of effective leaders. GREAT bosses:

  • Inspire Growth
  • Honor Relationships
  • Inspire Excellence
  • Ensure Accountability
  • Spur Teamwork

How well do today’s leaders demonstrate these characteristics? Recent contributions to my free online Great Boss Assessment indicate that some leaders do model these best practices. According to over 4,000 global respondents, though, too many leaders don’t embrace them. The attached infographic highlights some of the areas of concern.

As of today, only 45 percent of respondents say their boss inspires their best efforts each day. 58 percent say their boss treats them with trust and respect daily, which means 42 percent of bosses treat team members with distrust and disrespect.

Download-the-PDF

44 percent report that their boss holds team members accountable for performance. Only 32 percent say their boss holds team members accountable for workplace values and behaviors!

37 percent report that their boss doesn’t let team issues fester – that their boss promptly facilitates problem solving to address issues. That means 63 percent of bosses do little to nothing to resolve team issues.

How many of these global respondents said their boss has formally defined their team (or company’s) organizational constitution – specifying the team’s present day servant purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals? 41 percent. That’s better than the rating of only 35 percent three years ago – but it still falls short of the best practices required of GREAT bosses.

What are the benefits of having a GREAT boss – or of being a GREAT boss? I’ve got proof: GREAT bosses generate huge gains – 40 percent and more – in employee engagement and customer service. Results and profits increase by 35 percent, all within 18 months of embracing these effective practices.

Why don’t leaders naturally inspire growth, value relationships, boost performance, demand civility, or require accountability for commitments? They may not know how. Most leaders have never been asked to do anything beyond managing results. It’s all they know. It’s all their bosses did – and do, today.

The proven practices – the specific “how to’s” – are easy to discover. They’re spelled out in my Great Boss Assessment.

I coach leaders who wish to create powerful, positive, productive work environments to embrace the five characteristics of GREAT bosses. It doesn’t require much. Leaders simply need to learn what each of these best practices requires of them – in everyday interactions with team leaders and team members – then demonstrate those behaviors consistently. It’ll take intention and attention to make these shifts.

We need a servant leadership revolution, in all corners of the globe, in all aspects of society. You can help by sharing the five characteristics of GREAT bosses (use the #GREATBosses hashtag so we all can support your efforts). Share the infographic. Better yet, be a model of GREAT boss behaviors yourself – even if you’re not a formal leader.

How GREAT a boss do you have? To what degree do bosses in your organization model these “GREAT” practices? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Infographic copyright © S. Chris Edmonds, The Purposeful Culture Group. All rights reserved. Share at will!

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

Deliver on the Promise of Servant Leadership

working togetherThe quality of many work environments around the globe isn’t very good. Some would say it sucks. The frustration and stress most employees experience at work quashes hope, discretionary energy, well being, cooperation, and performance.

The data is undeniable. Only 21 percent of employees feel strongly valued at work (TinyPulse). 72 percent of employees report that the most important factor in their job satisfaction is “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” – yet only 33 percent experience that respect (SHRM). Employees are leaving their jobs at the fastest rate since 2007 (US Department of Labor).

Data alone doesn’t tell the story. Human experiences can.

Here’s a powerful example. Two friends changed jobs in the last year. Both are talented, engaged actors on this stage we call earth. Their experiences, skills, and industries are quite different, but both were ecstatic about the promise of working for a great boss and a great company.

In both cases, these friends were hired by someone they respected and were excited to work for. Within months, however, the bubble burst. Their great bosses left their respective companies, leaving my friends in a dysfunctional work environment with poor leadership.

Download-the-PDF

Why did their bosses leave? Politics. Favoritism. Promises made and not kept. Values conflicts. My friends are doing the best they can under trying circumstances – to say the least.

Who has the responsibility and authority to create a powerful, positive, productive work culture . . . to ensure all employees are treated with respect . . . and to ensure employees feel strongly valued at work?

Leaders do.

And, many leaders don’t. They don’t know how to manage their work culture. They’ve never been asked to do that.

When leaders do embrace this responsibility and fully implement a culture of trust, respect, and dignity, amazing things happen. Engagement thrives. Service quality skyrockets. Results and profits jump 30 percent and more.

Our world desperately needs servant leaders – in our organizations, in our neighborhoods, in our political system, in our court system – basically, everywhere. Servant leaders create environments where values – how people treat each other – are as important as results.

There are servant leaders all around us. We read about and appreciate servant leaders of global organizations like Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group and Garry Ridge of the WD-40 Companies. We know less about local servant leaders like my friend, Umair, here in Colorado.

There is a movement afoot to formalize what effective leadership looks and sounds like – to inspire leaders across the globe to embrace the promise of servant leadership. Check out the True Leader Creed, a recent effort created by valued friends. If you agree with what the creed requires, sign it – and live it.

We need less divisiveness, less dismissiveness, and less demeaning words and actions from leaders today. We need servant leaders that create respectful workplaces and meaningful work that serves others. Servant leaders praise, encourage, inspire, and hold others accountable for being our best selves.

The road we’re on isn’t a great one. We need a new direction. Sign the creed. Be of service and of grace. Inspire people to amazing performance.

You’ll have a lot more fun – and you’ll attract and retain talented, engaged employees.

Does your boss today model servant leadership? How good is the quality of your team’s work environment? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Steven Pepple – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

Leadership Development in 2016

Two Women Working At Computer In Contemporary OfficeMerriam-Webster declared “culture” the word of the year in 2014. We anxiously await the announcement of the 2015 word of the year. I’m hoping it’s “servant leadership.” (OK, that’s two words!)

With that in mind, here are my recommendations for leadership development in 2016.

For large companies, budgets have long since been formalized for the coming year. Many organizations invest in leadership training. If they haven’t already, HR team members are mapping out their company’s training curriculum right now.

For small businesses, they may have limited funds available to train leaders. There are a variety of solid leadership training programs available for individual leaders – at colleges, by chambers of commerce, in public workshops by training companies, and more.

Leadership training is a good thing, right? The number of hours leaders spend in development programs and the number of dollars spent on those programs are both easy to measure. Solid leadership development programs definitely build knowledge and awareness of effective leadership practices.

The problem is that participating in a training program doesn’t guarantee effective leadership behaviors are applied in daily interactions.

Though training expenditures and training hours are easily tracked, these aren’t the best metrics to use to gauge leader effectiveness.

For example, I’ve studied organizations that met development targets of 40-120 hours per leader annually. However, their leaders were not effective. They didn’t solve problems proactively. They didn’t delegate authority to talented, engaged team members. They mis-treated employees and customers. They didn’t consistently generate budgeted nets.

Yet those leaders kept their jobs. They were seen as “well-trained.”

In 2016, there are better metrics to monitor to ensure that your leadership development efforts result in effective leadership across your organization, whether it is a large multi-national company, a local neighborhood business, or anything in between.

This year, pay close attention to my “big three”: employee engagement, customer service, and results. Each of these is equally important! Most organizations measure, monitor, and reward only results. If leaders get those results in ways that erode engagement or service, so be it. The organization is getting exactly what they deserve – by focusing exclusively on results.

By measuring engagement and service as well, companies have a much clearer picture of the actual impact that their leaders are having on employees, customers, and the business.

By measuring engagement, service, and results, companies can celebrate those leaders that positively impact all three. They can easily identify leaders that fall short of positively impacting all three.

By all means, provide leadership development programs for your leaders. That’s 10 percent of the investment needed to have consistently effective leaders in your company. The other 90 percent is time and energy spent:

  • Regularly measuring every leader’s impact on engagement, service, and results,
  • Celebrating aligned behavior (positive impact on any of those big three), and
  • Re-directing mis-aligned behavior (eroding impact on any of those big three).

Don’t get hooked by the temptation to focus exclusively on the time or money spent on leadership development. It’s much more beneficial to invest time, energy, and mentoring in developing effective leaders and in crafting a safe, inspiring workplace culture, every day.

What is your organization’s philosophy on leadership development? To what extent does your company measure engagement, service, AND results to gauge leader effectiveness? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes