Today’s blog is aimed at leaders – those people in positions of power and influence in organisations. It’s entitled ‘Taking Ownership of the culture you want to have’. If you are a leader you might think that sounds strange, you may take it for granted that you ‘own’ the culture of your organisation. If that’s true – fantastic! But actually, is it really true?

When you think about it more deeply you might find that you experience ownership of some of it, the bits that you like, the parts that resonate with your personal values, the elements that enable you to achieve what you want to achieve. And you may realise that it’s more challenging to experience ownership of the bits that irritate, annoy and frustrate you – that’s certainly often been true for me during my career.

It’s only natural that we like to think of ourselves positively and focus on the positive contributions we make. One of the reasons ‘leaders’ get to the position they’re in is because they see the good things about themselves and draw confidence from it. And that’s a good thing – people who are positive and focus on their strengths tend to perform better than those who don’t. But, it can also mean leaders sometimes have a ‘blind-spot’ for the way in which they influence culture negatively.
Consider your answers to a few simple questions:
·         What do you tolerate at work (perhaps because “changing it is just too difficult”)?
·         How do you react when something goes wrong?
·         What do you do when something goes well?
·         What do you talk about most?
·         Who do you prioritise?
·         What are you a role model for?
·         What do you unconsciously communicate to people?
Whether you like it or not, you are a role model – from the time you open your car door on the company car park in the morning to the moment you shut it before your drive home. Every moment of the day your behaviour is communicating things to those around you. As the saying goes “We cannot not communicate. We do it by our presence and by our absence, by our silences as well as our words, by our choices, gestures and attitudes. We may not always do it well, but we always do it.”
So, as a leader, are you taking ownership of the culture you want to have?
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