EXAMPLE ONE OR EXAMPLE TWO
For anyone who questions the effects leadership has on the team, the organization, and the people your organization serves let me assure you, leadership plays a tremendous part in delivering a quality product. We believe it is the most critical piece of the puzzle. (Keep in mind your “product” is whatever you deliver to the people you serve – tangible or intangible.)
We have worked with so many different people, organizations, fields of product/service, and leadership is common to all of them. It just doesn’t matter what type of organization you are in, the language may differ slightly, but the needs remain the same. Let me give you a couple of stand-out, true-to-life examples:
The first place I’m using as an example is filled with good people that really did (and I believe still do) want to deliver a great product and serve the customer well. These people were capable. The problem they had was putting together a functioning team. Leadership at all levels and within the same levels were dysfunctional. It was evident when these people were in the same room there were layers of problems that needed to be sorted out. What was interesting, though, was these three levels of leadership all thought their problems were exclusive to the leadership team. Until the 360 Assessments results came back. Nothing was more apparent than their divisiveness with each other went beyond the leadership team, and ran from newbie to most senior employee. It was felt in the ranks of leadership all the way through their newest employees. The inability of leadership to get together on the same page cultivated an environment of individuality among the entire team. Work became a game of self-preservation. Trust was non-existent. Leadership was not respected in the office, and worse, in the community. Take a guess at who suffered most from this type of operation? The customer!
Let’s now look at the bright side of things. We also have worked long term with another company that started off much like the description above, although I would give them the credit they deserve and say they weren’t completely at Example One’s level of dysfunction.
This company made it a priority to focus on leadership. They made it a priority to focus on their employees. They made training and relationships a priority. And because of a focus on those priorities the result was growth in individuals, growth in teams, and growth in the organization. They found the level of care put into their product increased and the satisfaction of their customers was immeasurable. This company made a commitment to leadership and over the years it has changed the culture of the organization. This company wins national awards in product quality, customer satisfaction, workplace excellence, information technology, and community impact (21 total awards listed on their website!).
Imagine what that kind of commitment and results can do for a company. The effects of this type of leadership has so many benefits. Top three that come to mind? Employee and Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty, Employee Retention, and Recruitment of Talented Employees. Those are three biggies!
This particular article isn’t meant as a “lecture”. What’s most important is that you aren’t fooled into thinking differences among leadership don’t affect the whole team. Our company in Example One absolutely was fooled. Time will tell if they are serious enough to put in the work to change the culture in their organization. It’s naïve to think your employees don’t feel it or aren’t affected by leadership turmoil. We always, always advocate for reflection. During this busy holiday season, find some time for reflection. Put some time and thought into how your leadership team interacts and make it a goal to improve those relationships. It makes all the difference!
Ian and I are wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!