I visited chase.com today to check the status of several travel refunds. In enormous bold letters on the homepage, I saw the words, “We’re here to help.” I laughed, as I immediately thought back to my days in Corporate America when someone would swoop in – at the most inopportune time – and declare, “I’m from Corporate and I’m here to help.” The truth? There is nothing hollower and more disengaging than a senior leader appearing out of nowhere and offering assistance in an area that they know little about.
Do I think that one of the roles of a senior leader is to make everyone else’s job easier? Yes, I do, and the best way to accomplish this is by asking, “How can I help you?” rather than declaring, “Here’s what you need to do.” By approaching it this way, Corporate is setting a good example and building a stronger team – a stronger culture. Lots of people ask me what I think a senior leader’s role is as it relates to culture. My response? To role model the desired culture and hold everyone accountable for living the organization’s Values.
What is culture exactly? It’s defined as how we do things here. We create our organizational culture by the actions we take. And no one sets the stage more for how we do things here than senior leaders and the people running the show in Corporate. People take their cues from leaders, so if you want to create an amazing workplace culture that no one can imagine leaving, your leaders must first, role model the desired culture and second, hold people accountable for following suit.
JILL, WHAT CAN I DO? How can your organization encourage and support positive role models? To start, leaders must understand the impact of their behavior on others. One way to ‘start the conversation’ is to immerse your leadership team in your organization’s Employee Engagement Survey results. Through these results, leaders can begin to see the impact of their behavior on employees, and you can begin to put a strategy in place for leaders to do things differently in order to improve the culture. From my experience, when leaders see survey improvements, it encourages them to continue to emulate the desired culture and improved behaviors. May the force be with you!
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, international keynote speaker, and Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer. Jill works with the best and brightest leaders to improve productivity, retention, customer sat, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Become a free VIP Member of #CultureNation and get EXCLUSIVE content, invites to FREE webinars, and LIVE tour dates in your area … sent directly to your Inbox.