As a leader you know how important it is to keep working on the corporate culture. You’re a role model demonstrating the values in action . Now clearly it depends upon the values of the business you lead as to how relevant supporting you staff is.
How supportive of your staff is your culture?
Values that encompass the support of staff come under names like Care, or Team Work, Listening, Mentoring, Relationships, Work Life Balance, Health or Engagement to name a few.
Values are good and the behaviours and actions we take are what demonstrates if they’re alive or we’re just paying lip service.
Here are some examples which show if you’re demonstrating the support of your staff.
Let’s take the benefits of flexible working arrangements, be that hours or location; or the pleasure of the Smart Phone. These can also come with a rise in stress. Whether it’s presenteeism, job scope creep, job insecurity, or a lack of clarity about when you’re expected to use your smart phone (ie respond and check email) outside of core work hours.
Then of course there are all the outside of work factors, financial worries, relationship challenges, family and health problems. As leaders we also know these don’t just disappear and switch off as the person comes through the door, however hard they try to leave them in the car park for the day.
Do They Ask For Help?
We all know when we worry it’s like a germ breeding in our head, gnawing away at whatever energy and rational capacity we have left. So do your staff know they can come and ask for help or talk about what’s eating them up? For the record I’m not suggesting we add the role of agony aunt to our list. However we do know where in the organisation the person can go to for support or advice. Many companies have well being and external support help lines. Believe it or not when we’re stressing out about something we forget those things are there and someone reminding us can be just as much of a life saver. We don’t need to solve the problem for the person to show we care.
There is of course a second question – your staff may know they can talk to you, and do they?
If the answer is no then the following questions may help:-
- What’s going on in the environment that means they don’t ask for help?
- What’s the relationship like between you?
- What does the relationship need to be like for them to feel comfortable to speak to you?
- What skills or qualities do you need to improve?
75% of those questions look at you rather than outside of you, which is good news. It means any changes are within your control.
I often find in my conversations with leaders on how they can support their staff more that role modelling of this is missing.
Smart phone – they might tell staff they don’t need to be on it all the time, but they themselves are.
Asking for help – they might delegate but rarely are they ever seen asking for help. Ironically if you can’t ask for help easily, you’ve won’t be delegating effectively.
Looking vulnerable – Yes there is a time and a place for this, but neither should we ever look like we’ve got everything so totally sorted that we’re walking perfection. Just voicing the challenges we’re going through and how we’re handling it can help people realise a) we’re human and b)this is normal.
Remember you can have the most amazing values in the world, and how you demonstrate them is how your staff will.