“Optimum growth happens when we elevate others on our team. The carrot is no longer acceptable.”
The field of Occupational Health Psychology provides a conceptual framework designed to grow sustainable teams in the workplace. The former approach deconstructed teams through extrinsically driven outcomes using the financial carrot. Instead, intrinsic methods must be in the forefront. This is accomplished by elevating others towards personal achievement and excellence.
Old School Corporate Growth Persists
The desire exists for a revolutionary approach to leadership and corporate culture. Think back to the last corporate team building workshop you attended. You left feeling excited about your purpose, made new connections with staff, and saw a bright direction for your team.
Unfortunately, such experiences rarely get translated into the day-to-day flow of the work environment. Upon returning to the office, no matter how warm you felt after the workshop, most leaders continue to adhere to the outdated carrot and stick method. After all, if you provide financial incentive, your team will strive for excellence. Right?
Further analysis reveals that the old school approach focuses on, ‘shifting,’ others through robotic tasks and corporate values poorly internalized into workplace culture. Over time, employees become disenfranchised, especially when corporate values are designed and promoted from the top, rather than lateral team design.
What Prevents Change? How Do We Move Forward?
So, what’s holding us back? While the desire exists to redefine the workplace, old habits remain firmly in place due to familiarity. For this to change, leadership must take the first step in elevating themselves to the task.
What’s the solution? Organizations must move away from, ‘shifting,‘ employees using carrot and stick methods of growth. This must be replaced by ‘elevating others,’ towards team driven values and outcomes.
Leadership Behaviours Promoting Elevation Culture
The responsibility for change sits with leaders first. You must elevate yourself into excellence in order to elevate others. This is done by thoughtfulness about values, communicated through behaviours that promote, ‘elevation culture.’
As an elevation focused leader, ask yourself the following:
- What is your purpose?
- What are your personally defined (written down) values that drive your work?
- Does your behaviour match the values you verbalize to others?
- How do you invest in your own personal growth?
- How do you invest in your own professional growth?
Amazing leaders reflect on purpose, values and behaviours each day, through every interaction they engage in. Effective leaders invest in growth both inside and outside the office.
Five Specific Ways to Promote Elevation Culture
1 – Highlight talent and dependable strength diversity:
Promote heterogeneity on the teams you work with. Each member has a common purpose, but arrives there by means of their own individual talents and dependable strengths. Harnessing diversity is powerful armour.
2 – Be accessible to connect and collaborate:
Connect by leaving your office door open whenever possible. Allow staff to share ideas and problem solve critical items. Oftentimes, staff seek approval and validation carefully embedded in conversation. Give everyone the validation they seek. It promotes collaboration.
3 – Set expectations high and reward all outcomes:
Know the desired outcomes, verbalize them, and hold true to doing what is necessary to achieving them. Provide every possible tool and stay out of the way when teams move fast. Provide reward regardless of the outcome. Follow up with a period of reflection and planning.
4 – Seek feedback while building trust:
Ask staff how they are doing and what you can do to provide an atmosphere of growth and collaboration. Commit to follow through; it builds trust. Collectively ask staff to, ‘take the pulse,’ of organizational values and whether the team is on track. Create goals through feedback given.
5 – Ask employees about their goals and provide a path:
Spend time sitting down one-on-one with every staff member on your team. If you have a large portfolio, set a long term goal to meet with staff, even if it takes a year. In your meeting, ask staff about their own professional goals and development needs. Provide a path with opportunities helping staff meet the outcomes they desire.
A Final Note
Successful teams are driven by common values and a desire to move the organization forward. This is only achieved when we foster an environment where ideas and purpose thrive. When you incorporate the practice of elevating others, you lay the foundation for employee sustainability and positive outcomes. Never forget that this cultural change starts with you.