Developing a Winning Culture

The pathway to building and maintaining a winning culture and gaining the benefit of a team, and I mean a true team, is where everyone is helping one another, are happy, and are focusing on the positive.

Focusing on the positive in a winning culture also permits respectful disagreement. In fact, this is desirable. The best ideas are those that are built upon. We want an atmosphere where people debate respectfully, come to agreement and everyone leaves the room supportive of the decision.

If we want excited, appreciative people who truly care about doing their best individually and as a team, we must, as leaders ourselves, model humility, honesty, courage to make necessary decisions and a genuine care for our team members, and expect that they too embody those principles.

In Patrick Lencioni’s insightful books about teams, he emphasizes that we only want a team member who respects and trusts every other team member. If he does not, he must leave, no matter how talented he is, as he will drag down the team, preventing them from functioning to their full capacity. And there is nothing equal to the power of a true team in business.

Focusing on the positive means emphasizing that everyone has a shared responsibility for success, particularly outstanding service, client satisfaction and growth as well as supporting one another.

As leaders, we must let our people know that they are appreciated and valued. To do this, they need to see us. We must walk the halls, be out there with our people, having one on one conversations with them, asking how we may help, what are their ideas, what are they learning from our clients and similar questions.

We must be fully present, sincerely listening to understand and learn. Then we must follow through. Our follow through is key to strengthening respect, trust and rapport.

Developing a winning culture also means investing in our people helping them to learn, grow and succeed. This does not need to be a big expense. It is teaching, mentoring and coaching, which all leaders can do. We can also bring in trained facilitators for discussions in our conference rooms.

We want to help our people understand that they are in a people business and how they may improve their relationship and listening skills so they may be great teammates, easy to work with and have a  favorable effect on morale.

We want to be lifelong learners, modeling this so our people are as well.

Our most important qualities include our humility, which is the foundation of growth, kindness and our integrity, being upfront with our people, sharing information as we are able and being fair to everyone.

Let’s be intentional about offering feedback, affirming good work and dedication and certainly offering timely and honest constructive feedback so people can work to be the best version of themselves, individually and as a team, as we all should. It’s the path to success.

It is important that we address problems and difficult team members. We cannot let things fester. That is our responsibility. If we do not resolve issues in a timely manner, undo and unhealthy stress results. This failure on our part is not being fair to our team members. Not only will we lose their respect, team effort, morale and our work product will suffer.

Where we find ourselves in trouble is when we are focused on managing and cutting costs, with our noses in spreadsheets and taking our people for granted, not asking for their ideas nor demonstrating our appreciation. This drags our culture down, people lose heart and we’ve lost sight of our vision and purpose. This is a depressing atmosphere, which is absolutely the opposite of what we want. It is important to understand that happy people do better work.

Leaders focus on people, while managers focus on numbers. There is a huge difference. Of course, leaders also have a focus on results and they keep this in balance. They realize it’s the great work of their team members that leads to success. Their emphasis is helping their team members. That’s what highly effective leadership is, helping others do great work and succeed.

It’s the great leaders who gain sustainable success – through the power of their teams!

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