Whether you’re in a leadership role with people who report to you directly, or you’re a “thought leader” because of your subject matter expertise, your role has probably changed quite a bit in recent years – but has executive coaching kept up with the pace of these changes? Workplace culture is more complex than ever because of multiple layers of diversity including age diversity, neurodiversity, plus better awareness of mental health, systemic discrimination, and the impact of toxic workplaces. And now, we can add a new layer of complexity – leading from home.
Leadership Behaviours Affect Workplace Culture
Most leaders are understandably focused on the bottom line and metrics like output and reaching key milestones. It’s not as simple to measure the important but less quantifiable issues like organizational culture, and how a leader’s own behaviour contributes to it.
These issues are important and require a leader’s self-awareness. But introspection requires the time and space in which to reflect.
These are uncertain times, to put it mildly. When we’re uncertain, most of us rely on our default strategies and skills; we lean on our well-practiced systems. This is natural and usually it serves us well. Under normal circumstances, these characteristics may even be strengths. However, when we’re under pressure, distracted, worn out and under stress, it’s also natural to display certain counterproductive tendencies.
Because of what most of us have been going through, we’re experiencing more fatigue, stress, and distraction than usual. During these times of prolonged challenge, our flaws or weaknesses may impede our effectiveness and erode the quality of our relationships with the people who report to us, our colleagues, and our clients. And our workplaces are vulnerable to the impact.
A Great Turnover Ahead?
There is another layer of complexity. Countless articles and surveys are reporting that workers are ready to quit in search of greener pastures if they’re forced back to the office full-time (for another example, read this from HR Reporter.com).
In addition, pre-pandemic, many organizations had employees who felt disconnected from their work because they felt overlooked, unwelcome, or even threatened, despite their strong performance. These employees are finding working from home to be easier and even a relief; they’re grateful to be out of the office environment and away from harassment, bullying or discrimination. These employees may be feeling ambivalent about their work and where/how they fit in. This presents a potentially expensive and disruptive challenge for retaining these employees.
In these times of rapid and unprecedented change, it’s more important than ever for leaders to be cognizant of their impact on workplace culture. It can be hard to go from attending a webinar or two about diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and systemic discrimination to implementing what you learned within your organization. No doubt, some of the responsibility lies with the human resources department and possibly the team tasked with implementing DEI initiatives, but as a leader, you’re also accountable for taking action.
The road from ideas to action and implementation won’t be obvious and straightforward. You and your leadership team may even need additional support and guidance from outside your organization. Training supplemented with ongoing periodic coaching or check-ins can make the process less daunting and more successful.
What Can You Do, Right Now?
One solution is a leadership assessment. A leadership assessment is a set of psychometric tests that will quantitatively and qualitatively identify your leadership strengths so that you can lean on them as much as possible, and identify the types of interactions and situations where things are likely to go poorly so that you can try to plan around them.
If you’re like a large segment of the population, you may be re-evaluating your work life and wondering about your next step. As a leader, however, you may be running out of rungs on the corporate ladder. If you know that you’re going to need a longer ladder or a new ladder, it may be worth investing in some executive coaching or working with a mentor to identify some options.
If you’re interested in executive coaching, a leadership assessment or becoming a more inclusive leader, please reach out in confidence for a free and confidential initial consultation by phone, email, or via direct message on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
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