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How to build community in the hybrid world of work

BIG IDEA

Many leaders are far too individualistic and competitive.

We live in an individualistic culture. Particularly in America, we’re taught that achieving success means looking after number one. Many of our organizations encourage a hyper-competitive atmosphere, too—different departments fight one another for turf, we don’t fully trust or even know people outside our silos, and we see our colleagues as our competition for accolades and promotions.  

This kind of individualistic attitude can: 

  • Reduce innovation; 
  • Cause burnout, stress, and overwhelm; 
  • Limit diversity; 
  • Enable a hyper-masculine, ‘frat house’ culture; 
  • Create winners and losers within the organization, instead of making the organization the winner. 

In the end, this focus on the individual weakens collaboration and innovation. It creates a weak leadership culture, where leaders do not feel supported and cannot possibly be their best.  

Unfortunately, weak leadership cultures are all too common: only 15% of companies actually have the strong, supportive, collaborative leadership cultures they need to succeed. Today, as the way we work changes around us, building strong leadership cultures is more important than ever before. We won’t be able to get through the upheaval of the transition to hybrid work models without supportive relationships with our colleagues. 

WHY IT MATTERS

Weak leadership cultures hurt individuals, teams, and organizations.

In organizations with weak leadership cultures, leaders tend to: 

  • Lack clarity around strategic priorities; 
  • Fail to inspire their teams; 
  • Tolerate weak and mediocre leadership among their peers and direct reports; 
  • Resent and even undermine the success of other teams and leaders in the organization; 
  • Work against one another, instead of pulling together; 
  • Glorify themselves and denigrate their peers;  
  • Ignore the needs of stakeholders;  
  • Gossip about colleagues and throw them under the bus;  
  • Withhold information from colleagues to protect their own turf;  
  • Stand back when colleagues need help, instead of pitching in. 

Weak leadership cultures like this take a real toll on people within these organizations. According to research by Qualtrics, 40% of managers pay a price in their mental health. Additional research shows that 66% of leaders in weak leadership cultures are completely disengaged. 

THE IMPACT

A sense of community benefits everyone within an organization. 

The benefits of building a strong community of leaders are enormous. In strong leadership cultures, leaders: 

  • Feel like they belong;  
  • Share their knowledge freely with colleagues;  
  • Perform better;  
  • Hold one another accountable; 
  • Feel more engaged, and improve engagement among their direct reports. 

Leadership culture is key to employee engagement. Research shows that a company’s culture and values directly affect engagement. When managers work well together, engagement can be as high as 72%.  

Today, in a changing world of work, it’s more important than ever to build a sense of community within our organizations. We will all need strong relationships and support networks at work in order to survive and thrive in the new hybrid world of work. 

WHAT TO PAY ATTENTION TO

There are 10 key characteristics of a strong community of leaders. Take a look at this list of the characteristics that define strong leadership cultures, and the aligned behaviors, and see how your organization stacks up:

What kind of environment do you want to work in? Most leaders would say they want to work in an organization with real clarity, alignment, commitment, and mutual support. If you’re yearning for more support and collaboration at work, you are definitely not the only one.

Take the first step—you could be the first person to change the tone and build a better leadership culture.

 

Download our new ebook

Click here to read Building Community in a Hybrid World, an ebook by Dr. Vince Molinaro

 

Introducing The Accountable Leaders Community

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Do you have what it takes to be a community builder? 

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About Leadership Contract

We are Leadership Contract Inc (LCI), your partner in strategic leadership development. We help you operationalize leadership accountability at all levels of your organization so you can drive strategy, shape culture, and spark change.

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