Culture and leadership go hand in hand. As the CEO of my company, I am responsible for our internal culture as well as being a great leader. You’d think after 20 years as an entrepreneur, I would know all the tips and tricks about culture and leadership, but I learn new things every day.
While being interviewed by a friend of mine who is writing a book, he asked me: “what’s your definition of culture?” pertaining to my team, of course. After thinking about it for a while, my answer became clear.
Best Practices and How You Make People Feel
To me, for a long time, culture meant knowing any team member working for me would make the same decision I would make in any situation, so I would have no reason to worry. I figured that if everyone was on the same page, then I didn’t need to be present at every call or every meeting. However, I’ve come to found out this isn’t always the case.
As my team grows and changes, I’ve gained more of an understanding of how each of them operates, and how they make decisions. Learning as much about my team as I can help me to implement the right processes for them to make the same decision that I’d make.
After talking with my friend, Kevin Thompson, I expanded my definition of culture even more. He told me that, as a leader, it is so important to understand how you make people feel. Implementing best practices and having confidence in them is one thing, but knowing how you make someone feel is more of a success driver than you realize.
After all, your team is one of your most important assets. If they aren’t happy, you won’t be either. Don’t be afraid to check in with them, ask for feedback or implement processes that will make their lives easier.
Balancing Leadership Tactics
Now, onto leadership. When my friend asked me “what makes you a great leader?”, I was stumped. After thinking about it for a minute, he re-phrased the question to, “What would make you a better leader?” Now, that is a question I can answer!
I am always trying new things to become a better leader for myself and my team. I think all excellent leaders communicate effectively and intentionally, so I try to do the same. I also feel that leadership is a balance between giving the right amount of direction to your team and giving them the tools to grow and develop on their own.
It’s just like when I taught my son how to ride a bike. He started off with training wheels, fell down a few times and kept trying. Eventually, he was able to ride on his own. I was there to help, but I had to let him figure it out by himself.
Providing Resources and Removing Barriers
It’s so vital to give your team as many resources as possible for them to succeed, but you need to be there to give direction and offer guidance, too. You don’t have to hold their hands, but know when to help them if they’re struggling.
As a CEO, your job is to provide resources and remove barriers. Just like I removed the training wheels from my son’s bike, I can remove unnecessary barriers that can hinder my team’s growth.
One final note to remember about leadership. Show gratitude and appreciation for your team whenever possible. Show them you really care by always being present.
I hope my insights into culture and leadership can help you on your entrepreneurial journey. Let me know what you think in the comments and contact me with any questions.