1st installment of a 5 part series.
Every workplace has a culture—but without intention, investment, and careful shepherding, that company culture can be more akin to chaos.
Organizations do not start out with a mission statement that includes “strive for a terrible working environment.” But it happens. And it happens because smart, ambitious, excellent humans are thrown together on a team, expected to figure out how to navigate the dynamics, Survivor-style. When this happens, even the best-intentioned organizations begin to unravel. So what can companies do to keep this from happening? Focus on ways to infuse positive, long-lasting culture change and steer clear of slapping a hypothetical Band-Aid on issues that arise. The key to improvement is the ability to foster compassion and connection between employees, both vertically and horizontally speaking. This is of the utmost importance and begins when every individual understands this simple truth: how we show up matters. This is why Brilliant People chooses to shift the narrative around workplace culture and engaged employees to one of relationship.
Our passion for bringing teams together on a deeper level is at the heart of all that we do. It is what drives us. With that in mind, our goal is to first help our clients develop three things: self awareness, awareness of others, and a foundation of trust. Next, we provide tools and tactics to decrease destructive conflict and instead engage in productive conflict. Last, we incorporate training to encourage connected teams and leadership at all levels. Our continual learning model empowers employees to authentically and effectively connect with others whether they are coworkers, a manager, direct report or peer.
Our continual learning model is based on the following three steps:
- Connected Teams
Our model addresses all levels of the employee relationship. First, it starts with insights into the current workplace dynamic (aka company culture!) because engagement is the glue that holds an organization together. This module is an expert-led deep dive into your team’s personalities, relationships, and interactions to identify root issues that may be creating friction within the organization. The results will be developed into a customized team solution and which can also include one-on-one coaching, where needed. This strategic approach allows you to skip expensive, ineffective cultural band-aids and instead offers recommendations for addressing the issues at their source. This is where an alignment of purpose and shared action from everyone involved becomes key. And, when we say everyone, that’s exactly what we mean: everyone from bottom to top and in between. After all, managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores across business units. 1
Organizations are made up of people, each of which shows up in the world with different priorities, motivators and stressors. Those you work closely with get to experience these traits on a daily basis, for better or for worse. Think about it: we all have the ability to brighten a room. We either brighten it when we walk in, or when we walk out.
What’s needed is pretty basic. Organizations must have:
- A plan in place for how to contend with their “people” issue.
- Buy-in from said people to rally around a common cause of creating a place that people love to work.
If you’re ready to get started, click here!
This brings us to our 2nd step: Personalities.
Any Strength Taken to Excess Becomes A Weakness
To add another level of complexity, it’s important to consider a common disconnect. It’s the difference in how we think we show up in the world and how others actually perceive us. There is almost always some level of difference between the two. Based on natural wiring, upbringing, cultural history, life experiences, and so on, we all look through a different lens. We might be looking through a leader lens, a follower lens, or even a victim lens. And that could all be before breakfast! Unfortunately, we probably aren’t even aware that we’re doing it. Worse yet, imagine how it feels for the people we work with on the daily. They’re forced to go through it with us. Talk about a situation ripe for frustration and angst.
And, as I’m sure we would all agree: emotional stress can be both a cause and effect of workplace conflict. 2
No wonder we have workplace culture struggles. And, just to be clear, we believe there is no SUPERSTAR personality. There’s not one that’s better than another because every personality type has amazing strengths. This is where the concept of diversity comes into play.
Diversity of Personality
We believe it’s extremely important to have diversity of personality within your organization. But, it doesn’t stop there. You need it in your teams as well because each type brings different strengths and perspectives. In addition employees need to understand how to speak the personality language of their coworkers.
Our second step is to provide individual insights. This in-depth look into the personalities on your team helps identify styles, which involve priorities, motivators and stressors. Employees will discover both similarities and differences among other personality styles they work with. They’ll also learn ways to effectively communicate with each one. This process provides a common language to facilitate empathy, collaboration and cohesion across the team and organization. The knowledge gives individuals tools needed so they can show up for coworkers in the way they need. The alternative is showing up in the way they’re most comfortable with, which doesn’t always work to everyone’s advantage and helps company culture take a nosedive if it goes unchecked. This is Step 3 of the process for establishing connected teams, which is foundational.
The Way We Team Matters
Our interactions with each other matter at work because throwing smart and talented people together doesn’t equal a successful team. Success comes when individuals learn the necessary skills to effectively communicate with the other personality types.
People often fall into the trap of mistakenly believing that most other people share their views, opinions, attitudes, and traits. They also experience something called the ‘fundamental attribution error.’ This is the tendency for people to under-emphasize situational explanations for an individual’s observed behavior while over-emphasizing dispositional and personality-based explanations for their behavior. This effect has been described as “the tendency to believe that what people do reflects who they are”.4 In addition, if there’s a problem with a relationship at work, people assume that the problem is the other person. They rarely consider their own role in the situation!
You Can’t Change People
All of the situations discussed above involve some form of miscommunication. It may seem simple but miscommunication can lead to all kinds of conflict, stress, and disengagement in the workplace. And, spoiler alert! You can’t change other people – you can only change yourself. If you want a different outcome than what you are currently getting, figure out how to shift your perspective. This might help you show up differently and allow you to connect with others on the level they need. This can be really hard, but it’s a game changer both individually and collectively.
Our modules focused on Connected Teams combine in-person or virtual training focused on providing tools to help teams establish:
- a foundation of trust
- a decrease in destructive conflict and the ability to engage in productive conflict
- the means to collaborate more effectively
All of these skills are essential to building a cohesive and engaged employee base which ultimately creates good company culture. We understand that in order to develop new productive habits, repeated practice is absolutely necessary. To that end, we offer bite-sized interactive learning opportunities as part of our continual learning model.
If you’re ready, let’s get started!
We are Fierce Advocates For Awesome Workplace Culture
A “negative employee experience” is likely never in the business plan. Organizations and the people in them want to do right by their coworkers, their companies, and themselves. Again, I can’t stress enough that how we show up at work matters. When we understand that, embrace it, and take action, we can shift the narrative and perspective around people’s differences. We created Brilliant People because we think that people are actually brilliant. We know that given the right tools, organizations can empower their people to connect with each other internally. This internal connection then radiates out authentically and effectively to your consumer. Interested in how you change company culture for the better? Look no further. This is how you create a culture (r)evolution.
Contact us. We can help you create connection and community in your workplace. You know you want to. Let’s get this party started!
Next Up: The Motor Called Employee Engagement – Part 2
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