Culture is often defined as ‘the way we do things around here’. We can see developing culture or influencing it as a big task and goal. Yes, organisational cultural change is complex and long term activity. However, daily coaching and leadership conversations influences the culture of teams bringing small, deliberate and impactful change.
Create a team purpose and vision
Where employees know the direction they are going in and what they and the team are trying to achieve, are more likely to want to be part of it. Creating a team vision will increase employee engagement, people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Linking the team’s purpose to the organisation’s direction, will show how the team contributes to the business (the golden thread). Where and how they are adding value. It also provides leaders with the opportunity to develop broader leadership styles and behaviours.
Involving people in team direction and development is about using THEIR expertise and not the leader’s personal agenda. It puts them first and again results in increased emotional engagement and belief in you. This leads to their buy-in and increased chances of success, because its theirs, they own it. Good coaching and leadership is about Involvement, setting out intent about the value of people to your, and their place in the team.
Be vulnerable and authentic
Leaders are emotion based beings first and foremost. Reports don’t want faceless leaders. It’s OK to get things wrong and be vulnerable to others. Authentic leadership means being who you are not trying to be someone or something else. These leaders listen, are self-aware, have integrity and are selfless.
Coach, don’t tell
Your value comes from enabling others through your leadership, not by being very hands on. Asking people, exploring and testing is about using a coaching style, which creates a more problem solving autonomous culture. Asking gives power, telling removes power.
Know your people
Generally, leaders know very little about their employees – it’s limited to their sports, family, previous roles etc. Finding out what motivates, how they receive feedback, what they feel they are good at, what they aspire to etc are important. Knowing these (and more) creates rapport and relationships. The more you know someone, more you get them to bring to the team and delivery.
Leading expectations – yours and theirs
Leaders have expectations of their reports around performance, role and behaviours. Reports also have expectations of their leaders… Creating the space to discuss and agree these, leads to healthier working relationships which in turn leads to better mutual understanding. This should also be done with your whole teams too. ‘Contracting’ with your team – what’s needed from them and what they need from you, adds value to the performance relationship.
Spend more time with your people
Imagine Pareto’s law, the 80 / 20 rule applied to you and your teams… 80% of your time with your reports and peers. 20% of your time doing the task or ‘stuff’. How would that transform your people and team relationships and performance? Reports will value quality time you have given to them, listening and being present with them. More time spent with people leads to you being a stronger leader of people. You will become aware of the ‘pulse’ of team thinking, performance and needs. Combining effective coaching and leadership and time is a powerful combination.
People generally enjoy it when others show an interest in who they are and what they are doing. Being curious and and interested impacts on people’s perceptions of you, what you are trying to achieve and your intent. This also leads to more trust being shown. Being curious and interested in others costs nothing but can mean everything.
Coach and enable greatness
A workplace where people are positive, can be at their best and create greatness is a culture enabler. A place where people discuss, learn and perform promotes growth and creativity, where people feel they can do their best work. Again, this puts employees first and focus on them, not the leader.
Peter Drucker is said to have stated ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. A strong and empowering culture is a clearer route to an organisation’s success. Leaders create cultures by who they are, how they behave and how they deal with people and performance. Coaching and leading team culture is an everyday activity which every leader is responsible for.
Need more help around coaching and leadership?
Contact Abintus today to discuss how we can help you develop the leaders, cultures and performance you need for your business. Through training and coaching actions we help bring about people change.
Nick Howell trains and coaches leaders to help them become more effective, skilled, and the leaders they aspire to be for themselves and their teams. He also uses knowledge gained from these experiences to inform and develop leaders, through his articles.