Have you sat down and thought through who you want to be as a leader and the effect that it has on the people with whom you work and on the culture you create every single day? Leadership and culture go hand-in-hand. If you let it just happen organically, will it be the outcome you want for yourself, for your business, for your people? Maybe, maybe not. But what if you define it first and with every decision or initiative, with every person you hire or policy you make, it is cultivated directly from a thoughtful, purposeful approach?
Take for example 2 restaurants here in my home town, the inspiration for this article. Both are locally owned, have affordable yet delicious food, a great selection of beer on tap and yet one outperforms the other significantly. The difference? The people who work there and the vibe you get when you dine there. In one, friendly and dependable service and in the other, an almost disdain for the customer and poor service. Interestingly, when staff turns over, it doesn’t change the vibe, in either case.
I’ve studied how the staff interacts with their owner. The differences are not as obvious as you would think. Both have training programs, a mentor who teaches them the ropes and comparable compensation. The difference lies in the nature of the boss’ leadership. One is primarily transaction-based, focused on the task, the what and how. While the other has a defined plan, that is both transaction-based and person-centered, providing inspiration and the why. Their leadership intent: work hard, create purpose and have fun, can you guess which is which?
Often the added step of defining your leadership credo and applying it is left out of the business plan. While important, operational tasks such as marketing, accounting, inventory management, staffing, etc. often take up our mental and emotional energy. If we aren’t purposeful about defining our leadership and how it impacts our decisions, the culture we create will be defined by chance.
Don’t leave it to chance, you’re better than that.
Want to learn more? Attend the Catalyst Leadership Experience at the Grand Wayne Center on January 9th. To define your leadership, click here.