How do you create a positive business culture where all those associated view your business feel a stewardship responsibility for its success and/or its failures? To navigate this subject, let’s first focus on what generally gets in the way.

The most influential issue that impacts a business’ culture is the owner’s style of management. The owner has the most influence on the organization and therefore sets the tone for what is acceptable and a “norm” amongst their employees, vendors, and customers.

If the owner micromanages or in other ways inhibits members of the organization from offering suggestions or creating opportunities, this type of behavior will become the root of the culture. To preclude this type of behavior, ownership mentality should be an attitude of inclusion. This attitude conveys to the stakeholders that they are valued, necessary, and that great ideas can come from anyone. An attitude of inclusion, acceptance and collaboration must begin with the owner, and then also perpetuated and encouraged by example, otherwise stakeholders will see through it as just empty slogans.

From my personal experience, I have had the pleasure to work with a business owner who communicates to new members of his team that by their involvement the “pie” of opportunity has grown rather than the pieces of the current pie becoming smaller. If this type of behavior is not a natural leadership style, become aware of your shortfalls through completing a Leadership Assessment. This assessment will identify areas of improvement and allow you to take the next steps to become more adept in this style of management.

What are some key development steps to enhance leadership style?

  • Complete a Leadership Assessment that will identify your natural style of leading and areas of improvement.
  • Seek out an accountability partner whom you trust to provide coaching in the areas that need enhancement.
  • Identify specific goals or areas that you and your accountability partner can review to measure progress.
  • Perpetuate this attitude throughout your leadership team by having them complete the steps above.

Employees who are used to being told what to do and simply do their job, become critics of leadership, versus empowered and proactive members of your team. An environment of inclusion will develop loyal employees communicating to the community that your business is a good business to deal with. The attitude of valuing all the stakeholders is contagious, but is easily broken. Don’t forget that “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.” Once this productive empowering attitude is established, guard against anything that could herald a return to everyone looking out for themselves and watching their backs.

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