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Is “Longing For Yesterday” Bad For Leaders?

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Recently I was speaking with a senior leader who felt her workplace had gone to the dogs. She felt there was a lack of respect and commitment with the people she interacted.

“Things were so much better years ago at our firm. People followed through on their responsibilities and put in the hours needed to complete the job”, she shared. “But no one seems to care today and would rather just run out the door and leave it all behind for someone else to pick up the pieces.”

She was sensing a big change in attitude and behavior with her team, but couldn’t figure out why this was happening and how she could change it. She was longing for yesterday and wondered if she was an ineffective leader to feel that way. We got to talking and began to think that yesterday was not all bad.

Here is what we decided:

Bring Back The Respect

Having a culture that exudes respect is still critical in all our worlds of work. If we can’t communicate in a respectful way, we will never be influential. If we can’t see another person’s point of view that is different from ours, we can’t learn new things. What does being respectful look like?

  • Listening without judging
  • Commenting with kindness
  • Supporting each other’s ideas and suggestions
  • Making those around us feel valued
     

Leaders know that respect will always be an essential part of organizations.

Be Open to New Attitudes 

The world is changing and so must we to build healthy and transparent relationships. There are four generations working along side of each other today and that means different attitudes about work. Years ago putting in long hours at our desks was a standard many companies followed. Today, we can work from home or on a plane. We can even spend less time due to technology. We need to think about performing our jobs in a more flexible way, not with specific hours or location.

Diversity adds texture, innovation and excitement to our organizations and that means we must be welcoming of everyone. I worked with one leader who decided to add a “culture day” to learn about the different backgrounds of the team members. It became a day that people looked forward to both sharing and growing.

Discuss What Should Stay and What Should Go

When companies and teams talk about the type of culture they value, it can be so empowering. A great way to get a dialogue started on what each team member thinks the work environment should look like is pose some helpful questions:

  1. What is the best part of being part of this team?
  2. What would you change and why?
  3. How can we cultivate stronger work relationships?
  4. Which processes of the past still work and which ones might you update or throw out?
  5. What is preventing you from leading?
     

Download these leadership exercises to empower you and your team to tackle some of these questions.

 

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