Leadership is about transforming your culture into a community. A community is a place where work is meaningful, not just menial, where you support people to be genuine contributors, not just “task doers,” where people are honestly valued, rather than used up, where you invite intentional conversations, not just superficial exchanges.
Communities are places where “units” are transformed into “neighborhoods”, where there is a sense of belonging, shared vision, pride, ownership, and a commitment to service; where “command performance” is replaced with a bone deep commitment to courageously seek participation.
Community is where paint-by-number management programs are replaced with a profound, yet simple respect for realness, honesty, and respect for the dignity of everyone, which in turn results in an authentic expression of the human spirit.
Fostering this kind of culture is akin to being a gardener. While results are paramount, culture can’t be legislated, controlled, motivated, or coerced. No plants ever grow better because you demand that they do so or because you threaten them. Plants grow only when they have the right conditions and are given proper care. Creating the space and providing the proper nourishment for plants – and people as well – is a matter of continual consideration and vigilance.
Three questions emerge from this vision for your consideration and reflection.
- Who is responsible for creating this kind of culture in your workplace?
- Who are the leaders in your organization?
- How do you go about transforming the culture of an organization?