It is commonly understood that leaders and managers have a role in creating and influencing organizational culture. As the face of an organization, it is often more apparent how leaders embed their assumptions in the culture of their organization.
However, we frequently see our clients underestimate how much influence their managers have on the culture through oversight of day-to-day operations.
In his 2010 book, Organizational Culture and Leadership, Edgar Schein identifies several “embedding mechanisms” that managers use that influence culture, including their reactions to crises, allocation of rewards and resources, and identification of performance measurements. Schein states that “the most deeply entrenched elements of organizational culture are the least visible,” which means many managers are often unaware of how they are influencing the culture.
This is where articles offer generalized, but often vague, suggestions on how to adjust your approach and create a better workplace culture. In their defense, it is impossible to offer actionable and relevant suggestions that apply to everyone who may read the article.
So, how do we build a personal development action plan to improve our effectiveness as managers? Self-reflection is a great place to start. Think back to a recent crisis and try to remember your initial reaction. Even better, ask others for specific feedback on how you were perceived during that crisis.
Additionally, there are almost an infinite number of assessments out there you can complete that will give you insights into your management approach. One of EMI’s favorite assessments focuses on a manager’s approach to their responsibilities and how that impacts the people around them, a.k.a. influence the culture.
The Management/Impact® tool, developed by Human Synergistics International, offers an opportunity to gauge your strengths and areas for development. It measures what activities you do and how you do them, offering actionable suggestions on what a manager could do differently.
EMI is launching a series focusing on several responsibilities managers traditionally have, offering the opportunity to consider their current approaches and concrete examples of how to adjust and make sure they are positively influencing their team and organizational culture. The first article will outline the management responsibilities that relate to how managers manage themselves (e.g., emotions, integrity, etc.).
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