Amanda permitted me to share her story to inspire others to take action and help you improve your work life.
When I met Amanda, she believed that company culture, whether good or bad, solely rested on the shoulders of the intimidating leaders occupying the comfy C-suite offices. She patiently waited month after month for their town hall meeting hoping for inspiration among a culture of apathetic, and in some cases, disgruntled co-workers to become passionate rock-stars drinking the company cool-aide. That was Amanda’s view when she joined the company. Unfortunately, the honeymoon period quickly faded by the “just get it done” atmosphere that clouded her image of being part of something more than crazy workloads and disengaged people. The cynical view of culture became Amanda’s primary focus at work and bled into her personal life.
Her primary goal in our coaching sessions was to acquire new leadership skills with the intention of transitioning out of the company. Naturally, I agreed to support her leadership development but challenged her with a “what if” question.
I asked her, “what if YOU could improve the company culture around you every day? Would you consider staying at your company if that was possible?”
She looked at me dumbfounded, “Well, yeah. I like my role, and it’s not fun finding another job. And the culture could be worse.”
“Exactly. Let’s try an experiment.” I responded.
I challenged Amanda to take ownership of her part in improving her work environment while succeeding in her current job and leadership development.
Share a Coffee with a Co-worker
Seriously? Yes, a simple act of kindness goes a long way. Get coffee, tea, or water for a co-worker whenever you get yours. Greet them with a smile to let them know that you care. Amanda agreed to spend a few minutes every day sharing coffee with a different co-worker.
Replace Email Madness with Face Time
Everyone faces inbox insanity and trying to solve problems through faceless email is rarely beneficial. Instead, pop-in to your co-worker’s office and extend a little time. If that’s not possible, give them a call. Small actions like these build trust, and team camaraderie.
Focus on What’s in Your Control
What we focus on expands. Choose wisely. Commit to shifting the focus from what “the company” is not doing towards what YOU are doing. The company is the people. Yes, the leaders establish the vision, voice and the atmosphere of overall company culture. They are expected to inspire a place where people want to be. The harsh reality is that we cannot control the leaders. In fact, the only person that we can control is ourselves. Positively impacting co-workers and doing an excellent job regardless of circumstances is a choice. People who adopt this mindset report being more fulfilled and more often promoted.
After a few days of trying just three of many ideas, Amanda felt a definite lift in her attitude towards her work life. She saw the daily impact of her kindness and realized how much time she previously spent wasted on company gossip and lethargic approach to her job. Replacing the lost time with small acts of kindness and better job performance didn’t require any additional time. A few weeks later, Amanda’s manager recognized her by saying, “keep up the great effort and thank you for your leadership on the team.”
Still focused and agitated about the C-level leader’s role in company culture? I understand and rest assured that they are on the hook to establish strong cultures. However, we are on the hook for our contribution as well.
Like many of us, Amanda could not recognize the opportunity to impact her work day because of her negative focus. I believe that if we all agreed to take ownership of our part, we would see a radical shift in culture that the top leaders would want to follow.
For more ways to improve your work life and develop as a leader, visit… https://leaderacademy.teachable.com/p/leadership-coaching-strengths