Establishing a company culture that is an environment for fostering positive engagement for your employees begins with the leaders in your organization. They set the tone for teams to show openness and understanding or instill a fear-based culture. When making the change to an open and positive culture within your groups, the leaders you choose must believe in your message to cascade its merits and enroll those needed to implement and adopt the change.
The question is, what do you look for those leading the change and how do you find the skills you need to revolutionize your culture?
Best Buy’s CEO Hubert Joly spoke about what makes a leader in an online article from businessinsider.com and stated, “You must be clear about the purpose in life, what drives you, and make sure it's connected with the purpose of the company.” As we look for leaders, we must focus on finding those who are motivated by the people they work with and have a positive relationship with change. Everyone has monetary motivations (no one wants to work for free!), but strong leaders are those driven to do more to help their employees, teams, and colleagues as well as themselves. Exception leaders know that employees want to feel like they have contributed and be fully present when finding opportunities to support and praise their teams.
Steve Chavez, Director of Operations at IntelliSource, discussed his ideas for how leaders of change have a skill of knowing when and how to communicate information and what else is needed for change management:
“Change is hard and uncomfortable, but a good change leader will take an implementation plan or change strategy and make it understandable to all levels of the organization. Change leaders possess exceptional communication and leverage them to enroll those above and below in the processes, systems, and behaviors needed to make the change successful. You need someone who will voice concerns, objections and advocates for change needed as a voice for the people while also being a voice for change. This balance is critical as making the frontline feel heard is paramount in adoption, while voicing unforeseen challenges to leadership will prevent time and resource losses downstream. Often, change will require a true disruptor to be the catalyst for change within your company, and it is worth noting that you may need to bring in an outside perspective to help challenge the status quo.”
While finding the right leadership to drive change is critical, organizations must also empower their leaders accordingly. Regarding enabling leaders to drive change, Steve believes that this is a crucial step to developing a successful leader:
“You must empower your leaders by giving them the authority to define implementation plans, communication plans and play active roles in executive report outs. They will see the crisis coming and will need to inform those in charge of course correct. Authority also comes with boundaries: time, resources/budget, and basic project management. Make sure to give them everything upfront to avoid confusion and empower them to remove those who can’t make the change with the group. This, along with executive support, puts the leader in the best place to succeed.”
Being the catalyst for change requires being open with your communication while listening to your team will make your people find more purpose within their work and embrace the shift presented to them. When an environment helps employees feel they influenced and collaborated on a project, it becomes more than just a job and leads to higher performing teams. Enroll them to take part in the vision and implementation of that vision so they can feel their contributions added to the change and culture.