Leaders - would your vision and values pass this simple test?



Theresa May has called a ‘snap election’ in June which, she says, is all about ‘strong leadership’. No doubt she’ll be setting out her vision and values in the coming days.

Getting buy-in to vision and values is a challenge for leaders in organisations just as it is for politicians. People often say one thing to your face, but may very well think something else out of earshot (or do something behind your back - in the case of Mr Bunny Ears).

So, do you want to know what your employees really think of your organisation? There’s a great expression that makes for a simple test… “It’s what your people say about you, when you’ve left the room.”

Whether it’s good or bad - the truth is it’s down to you. It’s your organisation, your culture. There’s a logo on the door and maybe a statement on the wall - but it’s their perception of the reality that really matters.

So, what can you do to create the kind of feedback you’d be pleased to hear?

Live your values

Values reflect what is important to an organisation. They underpin how people in the organisation should behave towards each other and, in turn, how they can expect to be treated by the organisation. They influence our behaviour and guide our decision-making.

Your values need to be clear and well defined - and, most importantly, you need to live them for real. This especially applies to the leadership team and line managers who need to be authentic to these values. Acting in a way that goes against how you’d expect others to behave is a slippery slope to poor engagement.

Create a questioning culture

Some of the most engaged organisations are those that encourage curiosity, they don’t stifle it. They realise that if employees can’t ask questions, they won’t feel inclined to offer the kind of innovative suggestions that can make a huge difference to productivity. So, overly micro-managed businesses will find themselves in a talent exodus that could take years to repair.

There’s probably nothing as de-motivating as feeling like your views don’t count. Millennials in particular want to work for an organisation where they feel they can contribute. Good leaders will encourage and support a questioning culture and value opinion.

Walk the walk

Your employees will love your clear values and open, questioning culture - but they’ll not thank you if they don’t have the resources to do their jobs. As well as living their values, good leaders make sure the proper people and resources are in place.

Research from ‘Great Place to Work’ showed that many of what could be considered the ‘basics’ ranked amongst the top 15 drivers of a great workplace culture. These included proper equipment for the job, a physically safe environment, and the ability to take time off when necessary.

If you are going to ask your people to achieve great things - you need to ‘walk the walk’, as well as ‘talk the talk’.

Author: Richard Roberts
Posted on: Sunday 23rd April 2017

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