You can manage your finances, your calendar and even your time, but can you actually ‘manage’ people? People have emotion, intelligence, initiative, motivation and passion. These are the very things that make businesses successful, so why do we think that people should be managed like finite resources? What’s the alternative? Well, what about leadership? People can be lead, and many people are inspired by leaders who can articulate a clear purpose that reflects their values, concerns and philosophies.
One of the biggest problems with corporate culture today is a view by employees that they are simply assets for use by the organisation. Engagement surveys report a startling lack of engagement within organisations.
In the ADAPT method, Cultural Leaders are the trusted ‘champions’ within the company who have been mentored and entrusted with the company’s culture. They uphold the culture and values of the organisation with the intent of bringing out the best in others by being role models.
The Role of a Cultural Leader
Cultural Leaders form a dedicated leadership group who act as advocates for both the employee and the organisation. It deliberately departs from contemporary management styles that promote management is exclusively about the business.
Employees are matched to a Cultural Leader. These leaders hold quarterly face-to-face “catch-ups” with employees which last between 30 and 90 minutes. Employees can also request a catch-up if they need to.
An employee’s Cultural Leader should not be their team leader. They are not assigning tasks, setting objectives or assessing performance levels. Their role is to discuss the concerns, issues, ideas and aspirations of employees in a way that serves both the individual and the collective goals of the organisation.
Cultural Leaders are required to bring awareness and compassion to the role. This does not mean that Cultural Leaders avoid difficult conversations or avoid challenging an employee about their motivations, behaviours or even their “fit” within the organisation. As an advocate for both the employee and the organisation, the Cultural Leaders role is about understanding the context and the interplay between the employee’s career, their skills, their life outside work as well as the collective goals of the business.
It Takes Conscious Effort to Build Trust
A lot of research has been published in recent years about the intended (or unintended) consequences of toxic cultural environments caused by the negative effects of fear in the workplace.
Genuine leadership creates a safe place for employees to be honest and share their concerns while helping them feel empowered to take risks without fear.
These types of leaders share similar traits:
- They are prepared to be vulnerable
- They routinely suppress their self-interest to focus on collective outcomes
- The embrace accountability by addressing difficult issues
- They seek alignment and commitment from others by striving for clarity and closure
- They exhibit curiosity rather than defensive behaviour when engaging in debate about ideas, issues and problems
Organisations that seek to promote leaders from within their ranks have a good chance of being able to coach and mentor prospective Cultural Leaders by identifying those employees who consistently demonstrate these traits. When deciding on your Cultural Leaders, look for people who genuinely care about others while paying attention to results. These are employees who are aware, have a presence, and they have compassion needed to take on this role.
As trust is built between Cultural Leaders and their cohort, and between employees and the organisation, you will find that more and more employees are willing to share information without the requirement of ‘confidentiality’. It’s one of the changes that demonstrate that the leaders are creating an environment of trust.
When it comes to insights into your organisation, its culture and people, nothing beats real data. There is no point trying to measure cultural attributes if the information has no useful purpose or any practical way to analyse it.
Some of the most useful data comes from being able to analyse trends over time for an employee and being able to compare the changes. This necessitates a system designed for this purpose and allows for analysis and detailed investigation of individual and collective data sets.
Cultural metrics can include:
- Engagement ratings with your role, team or organisation
- Connection ratings with your peers
- Satisfaction ratings with your career path
- Adequacy of peer recognition, mentorship and training options
- Adequacy of employee remuneration & benefits
- Connection to the corporate purpose
Cultural Leadership Tools
The ADAPT platform has three measurement tools which our customers can use.
- The Career Valuation Tool (or CVT) captures an employee’s intrinsic motivation aspects, career and role related information
- The Cultural Index, (or CI), captures the overall satisfaction or happiness level of their employment
- Peer Catch-Up captures the quality of peer relationships measured on an honest bi-directional judgement of Engagement, Connection and Contribution.
All three tools serve to capture digital, date related information that can be stored for further contextual and trend based analysis.
If you would like to know more, get in touch.