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Does Your Leadership Culture Serve Others?

Alex Keller
Aug 27, 2019 6:00 AM

Leadership culture starts with you. 

You’ve heard the basics:

  • Be the first in, and the last out
  • Don’t ask employees to do tasks you aren’t willing to do yourself
  • Know your people

These are make great bullet points, but they don’t define or create a leadership culture. 

What kind of leadership do you provide? How are you growing your people, and through them: your community? 

How does your leadership culture serve your customers when you aren’t there?

Whew. That last one was scary, right? No one of us can be everywhere or at our best at all times. Let’s talk about a leadership culture that serves your team, to serve your customers. 

Hope you’ll see that this should come before anything else we do. 

Leadership Culture and Your Team 

You can make an impact on your employees' lives.  This is true whether you hire seasoned, FEC vets or give someone their first job. You can be their first mentor.

Show and teach them what ownership truly means. 

Does this sound familiar? 

  • Your employee “accidentally” uses foul language in front of a guest
  • Your Monday “forgets” to vacuum and mop before close
  • Your shift leader had to be fired for skimming tips, or time fraud

Yikes!

These are individual choices made and executed by people that were not you. You would never do these things! Let’s take another look...

  • Your…
  • Your…
  • Your…

These were your employees though, and it is your business.

What would a leadership culture of ownership think?

  • Language - I didn’t make it clear that this was unacceptable. I didn’t train well enough, or give enough reminders. I didn’t hold people accountable for this in the past. I own that piece as my contribution to this incident. 

  • Cleanliness - I didn’t do a good enough job explaining how important this is. I didn’t implement a checklist, or hold people accountable to it. I own that piece as my contribution this incident.

  • Theft - I trusted my employees, but didn’t verify anything. I hired this person. Someone on my team had to know this was going on, and I didn’t foster a culture where they felt comfortable letting me know. I own that piece as my contribution this incident

Pretty radical concept, right? I’m not saying that you should beat yourself anytime something goes wrong. In fact, I’m saying the opposite. Your leadership culture should be one where you see a roadmap for improvement when something bad happens, doing your part to ensure this can’t happen again. 

Own your fault, even if it's just a 1% contribution.

Do that, and your team will too.  

Do that, and you’ve done a service to these people who clock in for you each and every day.

Leadership culture that serves your customers.

You can’t always be there.

You shouldn’t do everything yourself.

When your leadership culture inspires your employees, you wind up with a team of people that mirror you. They’ll take responsibility and pride for their role in the system.  

Give your team the ability to self-discover what they could have done better in a given situation. It’s a skill that will set them apart and help them for life.

A guest doesn’t really care why a visit was unpleasant. They don’t want to know if you have a checklist in place, or want to hear how well you mentor your employees. 

They just want to have a great time at your facility.

By focusing on your leadership culture, every “bad thing” can become a chance to learn and grow. 

This is true for your employees.

This is true for you. 

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