Posts Tagged ‘respect’

Traits that Define Positive Leadership

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
George Ports, Senior Executive and HR Advisor

George Ports, Senior Executive and HR Advisor

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” 

-General Douglas MacArthur

Can leaders demand  respect simply because of their position or title? The obvious answer to this question is NO.

Leaders earn respect leading by example, “Do as I do” rather than “Do as I say do”.  They earn respect by being up front and honest with their employees, treating them with “dignity and respect”.  Dignity and respect go both ways.

I have been in the Human Resources area for nearly 42 years.  Over the years , I have made  observations  of  actions and behaviors that in my opinion define “positive leadership”.    They are as follows:

  • Positive leaders are people builders, they are in the construction business, not the demolition business.
  • Positive leaders are fair and consistent when administering organization policies and procedures.
  • Positive leaders encourage an open two-way flow of communications.
  • Positive leaders do not leave their employees in the dark creating an atmosphere of anxiety and insecurity.
  • Positive leaders recognize the need for responding to employee issues/concerns in a prompt manner.
  • Positive leaders work in conjunction with Human Resources to ensure that internal pay equity is maintained among employees.
  • Positive leaders take up for their employees, stand behind and support them when necessary.
  • Positive leaders never take credit for employee accomplishments and ideas—they always give credit and praise where such is due.
  • Positive leaders work diligently to create an atmosphere of teamwork, a culture where every job and person is important, avoiding a “we/they” relationship.

Imitate these traits and you will find employees who work for you because they want to, not because they have to. If you want to learn more about how your business can cultivate these qualities within its employees, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Organizational Culture: In Theory and Practice

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Articles about how your company culture and talent will be the key factors in your organization’s success, or lack thereof, seem to be everywhere.  Some of these articles highlight specific focus areas for building a culture, and others include high-level theories without application.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Diane Adams and Richard Byrd from Allscripts discuss their corporate culture at a Raleigh Chamber of Commerce program.  Diane, who is the executive vice president of culture and talent, and Richard, who is the vice president of internal communications/culture, shared both a high-level theoretical approach and more specific details about how it is applied in practice.

From 20,000 feet, the key takeaways from the presentation were:

Culture is Intentional

It’s important that you have a destination in mind and take ownership of your company culture.  Your culture should then drive measurable behaviors.

Culture First

You can’t afford to lose precious time waiting to get to your culture.  You must start now if you haven’t already.

It’s More Than Great People

You must continue to work deliberately on your culture. Hiring for cultural fit is just the start.

Inside=Outside

When your organization has a strong, positive culture with engaged employees your customers will have a great experience and your business will see the results.

Diane and Richard pointed to four key areas of focus at the application level when it comes to organizational culture:

Empowerment

Let your team members/employees own their job. When people own something, they usually treat it much differently and will go the extra mile to make it better. It’s also important to help them see how they impact the business results.

Communications

Without consistent, repetitive communication, culture is just some words put to paper.  Make sure the lines are open to two-way communication and be aware that the words you use matter.

Respect/Civility

How people treat each other is a big piece of culture.  Team members should interact in a positive manner toward each other, even when in disagreement.

Feedback/Development

Top talent wants to be in an environment where they are learning, challenged and feel like they are continuing to grow.  Recognition is also important for all employees.

Having read many of the articles and heard numerous speakers discuss culture, I think there are two clear points to be taken from the chorus:

1 – You need to focus on culture now.  If you put it off you will be looking back in six months and realize that your culture has taken on a life of its own—one that you may not like.

2 – One size does not fit all.  It’s up to you to find those things that make your organization special and to highlight them, while also determining the aspirational goals for your culture and how you are going to work toward getting there.  Sure, there may be some broad topic areas that need to be included, but the specifics are up to you.

Is your company culture what you want it to be?  What are you doing to get it there?

Photo Source: USACE- Sacremento District

Four Ways to Build and Sustain Trust in Your Workplace

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Are you constantly checking and rechecking the work completed by your employees? Does your boss often say phrases like, “it’s my way or the highway” or “that’s not the way you should do it”? Have you noticed your staff members watching their backs or withholding information from their coworkers? Do people consistently give you instructions that are contradictory? If so, your organization is suffering from a lack of workplace trust.

Building trust in an organization is no easy feat. Time, dedication and care are essential for keeping trust nurtured and sustained. Trust is a fundamental value that all companies should practice because it improves almost every business facet, including retention, morale, communication, customer service and productivity. Employers that focus on trust exhibit confidence in the decisions their workers make, have more collaborative workflows and keep employee motivation high.

Because trust starts at the top, ensure that management is included in your efforts to improve trust at your organization. Employees will quickly follow suit when management is leading the way. Incorporate the tips below into your workplace processes and see the level of trust increase significantly.

1.  Establish Values

Use your company’s mission and values extensively. All employees should be aware of what they are, and they should all strive to uphold them. Revisit your mission and values during staff meetings and post them in different areas in your workplace. Your business changes over time, so make sure to continually review, revise and align your mission and values with the business results you want to produce and the employer brand you want to exude. Ask for input from your staff members when reviewing and revising.

2.  Communicate Openly

Being transparent in your business practices will gain you the trust of your employees. Don’t disseminate information to only a privileged few (unless it’s confidential) because outcries of favoritism will inevitably ensue. Instead, frequently share information with all staff members. Employees don’t like being in the dark, and they will become more engaged the more you communicate openly with them. Additionally, don’t shy away from telling staff members bad news. Even though the news may not be desirable, they will respect the fact that you gave them the truth.

3.  Respect all Employees

Just like trust, respect is earned. You can’t expect your team members to follow your lead if you don’t respect them or the contributions they make to your organization. There are a number of ways in which you can show your employees that you respect them. Don’t micromanage them and obsessively recheck over their projects. Give them clear expectations and autonomy, and they will produce good work. Show them that you are interested in their lives by getting to know them. This can include learning their children’s names or the sports team they follow. Ask for their opinions on business initiatives, and stay informed about their personal short-term and long-term goals. No matter if they are full-time, part-time or temporary employees, recognize the work they perform by thanking and praising them often. Trust is easier to maintain when each of your team members feels valued and supported by the company.

4.  Be Human

Too many managers want to appear perfect, but the ones who resonate best with their employees acknowledge their mistakes and confess when they don’t know an answer. Yes, admitting imperfection will make you more vulnerable, but it will make you more human and that’s a characteristic that employees want in their managers. Let your team members know that mistakes can happen, but they must make a commitment to learn from them. Another way to show empathy is to respect your employees’ work/life balance. Unless they give you a reason to doubt them, trust that they will complete their assignments, and allow them to enjoy their lives outside of work. Be loyal to your employees and they will reciprocate.

You can’t establish workplace trust overnight, but you can destroy it in a matter of seconds. A continuous effort to show employees the importance of trust is necessary to keep it alive at your organization. Integrate trust in your values, performance appraisals, onboarding practices and other workplace activities. Companies that rate trust highly are more successful than companies that don’t. For more information on building trust at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: korapilatzen