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Home » Employee Engagement, Recently Published Articles, Culture, Human Capital Management, Leadership, Management, Talent Management

How Leaders Can Inspire Change In Company Culture

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Inspirational LeaderMillennials are getting older and soon they will take over most of the jobs left by the generations before them. It is estimated that they will comprise as much as 75% of the workforce by 2025. They have witnessed a recession, a job crisis, and many are struggling with student debt yet most are not driven by money. Their collective goal is to create a world where sustainability, compassion, and innovation are the norm. More than half are willing to take pay cuts just to do the type of work that aligns with their values. In order to attract and retain these millennial employees, company leaders must switch up their styles and in turn, create an attractive company culture.

Collectivism vs. Individualism

In the past, employees would put up with even the most terrible bosses. They viewed it as a privilege to work for these people. Millennials, however, are not interested in entering this kind of setup. They like companies that provide a great place to work and have excellent leadership. They prefer collectivism rather than individualism.

A collectivist culture (n): has an unmistakable sense of social consciousness and policies are employee-centric.

An individualist culture (n): focuses on pleasing high-level executives.

In other words, millennials want to be around leaders who can inspire them and help them thrive. In fact, 40% of employees reported that career advancement opportunities within their organization were very important to their job satisfaction.

What’s Your Emotional Quotient (EQ)?

EQ (n): the capacity of an individual to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to:

  • Discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately
  • Use information to guide thinking and behavior
  • Manage or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve their goals

Today’s leaders must demonstrate high EQ in the workplace. Employees want to have peaceful and productive co-existence. This often proves difficult given differences in opinion and other sources of conflicts. Every unaddressed conflict wastes about eight hours of company time in gossip and other unproductive activities. This is a substantial amount of time being wasted across the board. Leaders can help in reducing tension through example. They should show that they care about their employees and view differences as opportunities to learn from each other.

Successful Leadership Styles

Various leadership styles have interesting effects on company culture. For instance, participative leadership is highly democratic. Under this leadership style, management is responsible for providing guidance in all initiatives but there is always room for input from each concerned individual. Feedback and suggestions are welcome with leaders, who have the responsibility of making the final decision. This leads to better contentment in the workforce as everyone feels like his or her voice matters. In fact, 44% of workers say that they are more likely to be engaged if their leaders hold regular meetings.

This leadership works best when planning big projects in advance. Team members can step in to find blind spots and make corrections, problems can be prevented, and more ideas can be explored.

Coaching leadership, on the other hand, focuses on the ways in which employees can be developed for the future. Leaders think of possible activities that members of the team can try according to their own personal goals and abilities. These are designed to build long-term strengths that will serve the team now and the entire organization later on.

This type of leadership succeeds when people are willing to listen and do the hard work. It fails when they are insolent or unwilling to exert the effort required.

A study found that leadership style can affect 30% of corporate profits. Therefore no organization can afford to ignore this aspect of the business. Given the increased sensitivity to workplace practices and overall environment, leaders have to reassess their culture and make changes as necessary to improve employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.

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Andrew Deen
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business. Twitter @AndrewDeen14
Andrew Deen on Twitter

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