(Estimated reading time: 7 minutes)
How well do you know your followers?
If you’re like many managers and leaders, the answer is “not much.” Time is always the challenge: the constant drumbeat of operational tasks interferes with the kind of in-depth conversations necessary for learning about them and their challenges. This dynamic is true for all leaders throughout any given organization, regardless of position in the hierarchy.
Some organizations recognize this problem, sponsoring efforts like company picnics for increasing association and building relationships. Although better than nothing at all, such activities result in leaders and followers knowing each other in only one way: as coworkers.
The problem, of course, is that each of your followers is more than a mere employee.
Regardless of the quality of the relationships, your association likely ends with the end of the workday. You commute back to your neighborhood, while they commute back to theirs. This disconnect between you and your followers is far greater than different neighborhoods. It also includes different associations, hobbies, interests, families, upbringing, heredities, religions, ideologies, education levels, values and norms, to name just a few.
In short, you don’t know your employees because you don’t know their culture.
And, if you think they’re like you, you’re living a lie, one likely reflected in your broken organizational culture.
Read More »