Is there a silver bullet for building and improving workplace culture? Through its decades of research, Gallup says it has found one: your managers or team leaders. Gallup’s research shows that 70 percent of the variance among “lousy, good and great cultures can be found in the knowledge, skills and talent of the team leader.”
Gallup has three ideas for putting this knowledge into action:
• Change your team’s approach from “command-and-control” to focusing on “high development, high purpose and strengths-based coaching.” To paraphrase: It’s about leading by letting go. It’s setting clear expectations and goals; sharing where your company is going, why and how a team member contributes; and encouraging ideas and actions within that framework.
• Require team leaders or managers to coach their team members on a weekly or regular basis. It needs to be a priority, which means some other responsibilities may need to shift, and proper training and tools are necessary. This important coaching responsibility complements other performance development research, as well as what we’re hearing from company leaders, colleagues and staff. Employees want ongoing input, with rationale and within the context of where the organization is going and their specific role. We’ve seen it also works the other way: Employees can also proactively seek clarity and ask for feedback from their managers, and then put that feedback into action to show progress and accountability.
• Explain to any questioning executives and board members that the organization’s culture must change in order to encourage innovation, retain the best talent, and gain more customers.
The opportunity and challenge comes down to focusing on equipping and empowering team leaders to become coaches. That’s often a new role for managers who advanced to leadership positions based on their exceptional professional capabilities versus coaching skills. For other insights and ideas, Gallup offers a downloadable “Re-Engineering Performance Management” research report.