The Leadership Foundations for a Thriving Work Culture | Fierce

employees gathered in a meeting demonstrating leadership foundations

A thriving work culture is built on leadership. Leadership can extinguish the fires of the most enthusiastic employees if they do not display the right characteristics. Your intuition and experience tell you this is true. Think back on the great leaders you worked with who uplifted you to better performance and development. Then remember those times you worked for weak leaders who diminished your abilities merely by being in their presence.

Leadership is the ability to raise people to new heights. When the people grow, the organization grows.

Why is leadership so foundational?

Human beings are mimics. We are all imprinted by our associations. Children parrot and imitate the adults around them. It is an inescapable part of our nature and doesn’t disappear when we enter adulthood. Your people will mimic the examples set by their nearest leaders. 

After working with top organizations for over 20 years, Fierce has identified:

4 foundational pillars that create healthy leadership.

When each of these pillars is in place, company culture thrives and toxic culture is held at bay.

1. Resilient Workplace

Focusing on resilience is paramount for leaders today. The disruption of work and family life over the last several years has created a crisis of burnout and toxic culture. Resignations and “quiet quitting” plague every organization. As a leader, you must mirror the behavior of resilience through self-awareness.

Learn to identify those areas in your own work life that cause stress and learn to mitigate and manage those issues. 

You can help those you lead by looking for cracks in the system that point to hidden stressors. Internal conflicts, missing goals, low productivity, and turnover are good signs resilience is needed.

Helping organizations build resilience is a key priority for Fierce. Recently, Dr. Gabe De La Rosa joined our team to help us further our mission of better understanding the dynamics of stress and resilience. Gabe has been at the forefront of building resilience inside the US Military and has helped in developing the Pulse app as well as the Fierce Resilience program. Read his whitepaper “The Impact Of Stress At Work” to see why we’re so thankful to have him.

As Gabe likes to say, it’s those silent stressors that cascade into overwhelm. Building self-awareness into your teams will short-circuit those triggers that lead to burnout.

2. Agile Leaders

Being adaptable and agile is required in the modern business space.  Agile leaders build collaboration and deep communication skills with their teams. They empower decision-making among each individual and create alignment through a common purpose. 

You can move to greater agility by focusing on outcomes and trusting in the ability of your people. When sudden changes appear, normal rules and procedures often don’t give guidance to action. In these cases, trust must be given to contributors to make decisions on the agreed-upon outcome of the company. 

You must trust that the training and discussions contributors have had will allow for intuitive almost subconscious correct action. 

Unless every member of the team shares the same values and outcomes, good decision-making won’t happen. When these pieces are shared, an atmosphere of trust occurs where decisions can be made quickly without over-deliberating or pushing every action back to leadership.

3. Inclusive Cultures

All levels of leadership must prioritize this cultural shift toward inclusion if they want to increase the creativity hidden inside their organization.

Scott Hopkins, the Director of Leadership at Christus Health expressed the power of this shift toward inclusion:

“The number one improvement since [undergoing Fierce training] is the creation of a common language where people can understand principles and apply them. Concepts and language have allowed us to build other system-wide training programs and integrate aspects of Fierce into them, reinforcing the key concepts into our everyday lives.”

Here’s a secret-building a culture of inclusive collaboration begins with effective structures to elicit meaningful conversations. Implement systems to prod insights from all team members and innovation will emerge.

We can’t forget that innovation can come from anywhere, and this may be the biggest benefit of developing an inclusive culture. When people are excluded, so are ideas. New ideas and innovations don’t always come from board meetings but bubble up from those closest to the customer or problem. Without structures that allow for all voices to be heard those innovations will be lost. 

As a leader, it can induce anxiety to give lower-level employees in your organization greater responsibility. Incorporating more people into problem-solving teams will further develop skills and create trust inside the organization. When employees realize their voice can make a difference at the highest level, they will be eager to contribute to the organization.

The most effective leaders understand that, in the words of psychologist, Chris Peterson, “Other people matter.” 

Leadership who have the skill to develop deep relationships across the organization and create a culture of collaboration drive positive change and innovation.

4. Connected High Performing Teams

No leader has ever wished for a low-performing team, but how do you create collaborative high-performers?

Edgar and Peter Schein, authors of Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust, write, “As a manager, if you personalize, you will minimize ‘subordination’ in order to emphasize collaboration, joint responsibility, and your own willingness to help your direct reports to succeed. … We don’t need to become friends and learn all about each other’s private lives, but we have to learn to be open and honest around work issues.”

Learning successful feedback systems and models helps keep everyone on track and moving in the same direction.  According to Gallup, managers who provide weekly feedback have employees who are 5.2x more likely to agree that they receive meaningful feedback, 3.2x more likely to be motivated to do outstanding work, and 2.7x more likely to be engaged at work.

Feedback leads to skill development, but more importantly creates mutual trust and openness. As part of the feedback process, use that time to instill a shared vision of a winning team.  A shared vision creates a sense of purpose — a purpose for their lives, the organizations, and to the customers they serve.

Interested in building these pillars for your organization. Let Fierce analyze your unique strengths and weaknesses and design a program customized for your culture so you can thrive.

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