How healthy is your leadership pipeline? Do you know who would replace you if you left tomorrow? The question of leadership development and continuity is an ever-present challenge for organizations in any industry.
Transforming team communication is a difficult task. Just look around your office and think about how many different thought processes, leadership approaches, and communication styles are represented. Most days, fostering seamless communication between so many different people while working hard to raise up good leaders feels more like herding cats than it does leading a team.
One of those “soft science” buzzwords.
You can hear it now, can’t you? The impassioned HR director energetically extolling the cure-all virtues of “open dialogue,” “honest communication,” and “high performing teams” who learn how to “understand” their teammates and “bring out the best” in every “unique voice.”
Each of our leadership styles are framed on a foundation shaped by personal experience, nurture, and learning. We have all picked up good and bad habits from those who have led us and we inevitably learn certain leadership skills in school, through informal reading, blogs, news, etc.
Have you ever thought, however, that there may be different foundations of leadership?
Different philosophies that take you in different directions?
Have you ever heard someone, maybe even yourself, say this:
“If they’re not for us, they’re against us?”
These days everyone seems to be preaching about the importance of employee engagement…and they should be. An overwhelming amount of research details the crucial role engagement plays in improving workplace morale, productivity, healthy culture, bottom line, retention, and more. The list goes on and on.
Some people think influence is reserved only for the extremely rich or powerful – the types of people who run governments or large organizations or become the face of a national cause. But the truth is, each and every person wields significant influence in their lives, from family and teams to organizations and community. These are you primary circles of influence.
Effect vs. Impact
As a leader in those circles, you have the opportunity to positively or negatively influence the trajectory of those around you, whether family, friends, co-workers, or members of your community.
Since influence is power, we all have a great responsibility to utilize our influence for the best interest of those in our lives, so let’s start unpacking this responsibility by first understanding two key words:
- Effect – to affect someone is to do something that changes the way they think, work, or live.
- Impact – to impact someone is to mark them indelibly or otherwise alter their trajectory due to a deep, core-level influence.
For instance, we are affected by a thunderstorm due to electrical surges or temporary power outages, causing inconvenience, discomfort, and possibly changing the way we react to storms in the future. But we are impacted forever if that thunderstorm produces a tornado that destroys homes, property, and lives on a deeper level.
Aim for Impact
Similarly, every one of us affects each other in our lives on a daily basis, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.
But very few people truly make an impact on others.
People who merely affect us can be forgotten, as their influence is passing and impermanent. People who impact us, however, are memorable and significant to our personal growth.
Therefore, we can choose to:
• Positively affect those around us through random (and intentional) acts of kindness OR
• Negatively affect those around us through annoying behavior.
That means we can decide to…
• Positively impact others by going above and beyond what they expect OR
• Negatively impact others by domineering behavior.
As leaders, let’s choose to not only make a positive effect, but to raise the game and invest our efforts in making a lasting impact that ripples beyond the surface. Let’s be intentional about altering the trajectory of others in a positive way for their long term benefit.
To be memorable is to carve out the gift of a good legacy and it all starts with a choice… a conscious choice that each of us needs to make.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make an impact vs. an effect, we’re happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let us know!
Healthy team growth begins with knowledge, self-awareness, camaraderie, and shared values.
Once you begin to truly know your teammates – what drives their lifestyle and priorities, what affects them inside and outside the office, what they value – you will start to feel a natural interest in the things that help them grow as leaders and people.
Do you have wholehearted people in your life?
Who do you know that is fully in or completely devoted to something? They’re the type of people who, as Thoreau once put it, “suck out all the marrow of life.”
If you were suddenly dropped onto a different planet – say Venus or Mars – how long would you live without a spacesuit? Maybe 4-5 minutes? Less if you can’t hold your breath very long or the atmosphere was too toxic?
Let’s try another one – how long would you be able to live in Dzerzinsk, Russia – known as one of the most polluted cities in the world? The average life span is 45 years! It sounds obvious, but…
Atmosphere affects our breathing, which affects our living.
The same is true for organizational cultures – they are an atmosphere. Some cultures (aka atmospheres) can choke people in a matter of minutes. Other cultures tend to degrade and “kill” people over months or years. Pretty much all negative cultures come with a “hazardous materials” risk for employee well-being. Others, however, remain free and clear and produce effective, long-term health and prosperity.
We have have seen organizations exemplifying all three scenarios. As a company devoted to helping plant, water, and cultivate healthy organizational culture, our team is always working hard to create its own atmosphere of positive growth, fruitfulness, and productivity.
“The culture is the atmosphere.”
Culture = Atmosphere
So, which atmosphere are you experiencing?
Are you currently in the Venus atmosphere where you can’t breathe for even a minute?
Or are you in a smoggy atmosphere, where you know your health is declining over time?
Or maybe you are thriving in your environment with clean air and plenty of sunshine in your culture.
Thinking of culture as atmosphere is interesting. In a city full of smog you can usually trace the smog back to certain political and business decisions that enable such issues, or it may otherwise result from specific geographic realities within certain areas.
The same is true within organizations. Certain leaders and leadership decisions can lead to a divisive culture built on short-term fear to produce results. If you are an employee then you can only rely on your influence to clean up areas of leadership pollution. However, if you are a leader in some capacity, you have the opportunity (formal or informal) to clean up or establish the right atmosphere in which your people can live and thrive.
Removing the Toxins
Think about the economic and social implications for cities with horrible pollution and the astronomical costs it incurs to care for its ailing citizens. Now imagine the same implications for companies with bad atmospheres – lack of productivity, divisive drama, high turnover, and demoralized employees.
The best thing you can do as a leader is commit to a clean up.
Dedicate yourself to liberation, health, and a vibrant atmosphere at work. Let’s work today to change atmospheres for everyone’s benefit.
Your culture is an atmosphere, how well are you breathing?
If you’re interested in learning more about how your company atmosphere (culture) affects your organizational health, we’re happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let us know!
The GiANT IDEA