If you want to be valued as a leader and have people run towards the next opportunity to work with you, then I would encourage you to consider the intersection of stated values and day to day experience. It is easy for us to write a series of values on the wall and codify expected behavior in the employee handbook, but real leadership is for you to ensure that every employee receives an experience consistent with these guides.

Too often we fail our people when it matters most – The most common failure I am hearing is the ‘bystander’ who overhears the off-color joke, or the exclusionary language and just lets it slide. These tests of character very quickly build into a cumulative experience that can allow a culture to spiral downwards. A question I like to ask of potential executive leadership is:

“Tell me about a time when you intervened or spoke up; when you overheard, observed or experienced workplace behavior inconsistent with either your values or those of the company?

Upon reflection, most of us will acknowledge that we have failed this test at some time(s) in our life – I have instances that still occasionally float to my consciousness and they serve as a reminder that even one failure to meet our own standards is one too many. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will preserve the integrity of your work environment and set you apart as a leader that people will rally behind, because in the words of a great sales rep I recently met, “Doing the right thing, is ALWAYS the right thing.”

NB:  We teach high integrity culture as part of the majority of our SaaSy management programs.

1 thought on “How brave leadership can define an employee experience”

  1. An addendum might be, ‘If this question makes you feel uneasy, it means it has happened to you.’

    Superb insight as always Matt. I always try to instil my values into everything I do, yet sometimes find myself surrounded with people who appear to have none.

    Apparently, Leaders are the ones who appear to challenge an out of date mindset. 🙂

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