Have you ever seen someone walk into the office in a bad mood? Especially if that person was your boss, you probably noticed how quickly the the energy of the office changed to match the bad mood. An office environment that only moments prior had been sunny and efficient can quickly change to dark and stressful.
A recent commenter on this blog described how she had quit a job due to her boss’ bad attitude. Her boss was the owner of the company, and his constant dissatisfaction with the state of everyone’s work permeated the office. This attitude eventually trickled down to our commenter, and subsequently influenced the way she managed those working under her as well. Because of this constant barrage of negativity, her work life eventually became too stressful and unsatisfying and she finally decided to leave the company.
This story really made me think about how the ways in which we lead affect everything else in our company, from personnel to profits. A leader’s “vibe,” or the values she expresses in the workplace, trickle down to affect and permeate how everyone else in the company acts. This eventually even affects the way employees act with your customers. As leaders, we must carefully groom our own attitudes to make sure that the values we express are aligned with the values we want to portray to clients and to the public.
What qualities do you want the public to associate with your company? Perhaps it is optimism, a can-do attitude, creativity, helpfulness, or friendliness? These all start with you. What you model, your staff will embody, and hence your company will become.
Assess your Values
Here is an exercise designed to determine whether your own attitude at work aligns with the values you want your company to embody. If you want your company to truly exemplify these qualities, you will need to start with yourself. To begin, sit down at your computer or with some paper and a pen. Write down the values you want the public and your customers to associate with your company. These could be values such as honesty, integrity, creativity, positive attitude, or any other values that are relevant to your field. List all the values you can think of. Once you’ve exhausted your list, go through them one by one. For each value ask yourself, “Does this value resonate with me personally? Do I really believe in it?” Then, being honest with yourself, ask “Are these the values I portray at work?” It might be helpful to talk about this with a coworker who you truly trust to be honest with you. Ask him or about the attitudes he sees you express in the workplace. Do these match with your company’s stated values and the values you want to see in your staff? If not, it’s time to work on matching your stated values with your true inner values.
Along with my partner, Dr. Susan Franklin, I’d like to invite you to explore this further through a free webinar that will address the alignment of leaders’ personal values with their organizations’ values. We call it WHY Leadership, and it’s about leading from your place of purpose and your own personal “why.” click here to sign up for the webinar, which will take place on November 16, at 1:00pm, PST.
If you are lucky enough to live in the Puget Sound area of Washington State and would like to sign up for the in-person monthly meetup group, go to Why Leadership of Kitsap.