Can They See Us from Up There?

A Recurring Issue

In my work, I see time and again the issues that exist at the top of organizations. However, so often, there are a few problems that organizations suffer from that are isolated among top executives. 

The people at the top who don’t have buy-in on new initiatives is one I see a lot. The rest of the organization has the drive to move forward with change, but the aloof C-suite won’t get involved and drive the culture towards change. 

This problem affects so many organizations because that’s how powerful executives are. They are the major change drivers within an organization. So the damage they are capable of inflicting by simply not caring enough about the whole picture, or being out of the loop, or not backing changes, it’s substantial. 

If the entire side of leadership that the executive team shows the rest of the organization is like the one I just mentioned, you can bet that those leaders are doing more harm than good. 

If you or someone you know is an executive leader, then I would like to invite you and them to take the Caring Leadership Assessment to see what actual behaviors you can strengthen or add to be a better leader for your teams. 

Follow the Leader

Executives at the top drives team morale. Take this story, for example, an organization realizes they need to improve work-life balance, so they create policies for employees to take off time more easily and not have to work full days on Fridays. An excellent change, right? Well, the distant leaders somewhere at the top of this organization don’t change their goals accordingly. So, a new policy rolls out, but all anyone hears from the top is the same thirst for business. The expected levels of productivity, fast turnarounds, and demanding client service remain the same. The pressure from executives has now stopped nearly all employees from benefiting from the new work-life balance measures. 

Instead, the same unhealthy toxic environment of go, go, go remains. The feeling that it’s never enough is continued and takes over the team culture. Teams affected by such leadership do not feel empowered. Instead, they are stuck in the grind, as if their leaders have nearly tied their hands behind their backs, then offered them the work-life balance plan of their dreams, but made it impossible to choose it and experience it. 

The Concern

Let’s look at it from this perspective: the executive leaders got that far in the organization because they put in the hard work and long hours to make it. They have the business needs of the whole organization as their number one priority and have figured out how to make money, drive new business, grow, etc. 

But, the needs of the business cannot come at the expense of the employees’ wellbeing. And success for the company does not mean success for each employee. On the contrary, success for employees means they feel like they can be their authentic selves at work. That could mean having an active family life or simply showing up as themselves independent of their leader. 

Success Looks Different for Employees

Success for employees looks like a healthy work-life balance. Employees are content when they know the work they do is meaningful, and they are cared for in the process by those who lead them. So let’s rid our workplaces of the start-and-stop of new initiatives that have no real C-suite support. Instead, executives should focus on real congruence with organizational values and norms that promote emotional wellbeing for all.

Again, I invite you to take the Caring Leadership Assessment to figure out where your next steps forward are in your journey. The development of one leader can change an entire company and have a positive ripple effect overall. Leadership is powerful and executives has the means to implement change. Let’s be caring about it.

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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

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