"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth". Muhammad Ali.
Business leaders are on a continuing mission to create organisations with great values, culture and identity. A place where people are proud to work and a company people love interacting with. There are countless league tables of best companies to work for and an even greater amount of review sites, critics and bloggers.
There are of course a great deal of things companies need to get right to hit the top spot and get outstanding reviews. What is it that great firms do that others don’t?
I’m interested in understanding what leaders can do to have an impact on the lives of their co-workers and the experiences of customers. It’s the sum of all the little things that makes the biggest difference.
Leaders have a major role to play in impacting the lives and behaviour of their team. Promoting kindness and goodwill in relationships between co-workers is an important and meaningful value. If a leader speaks badly to their team how can they expect their team to speak well to each other and their customers?
Great leaders are those who give their employees freedom. Empowering people to speak one’s thoughts, which is essential in achieving freedom, is an important trait in a leader. If people are not able to share new ideas and address situations openly, any sense of freedom is lost. At the heart of enabling people to feel free is the recognition of the value and importance of people’s happiness and sense of worth.
When we fight for a free and inclusive workplace, we are fighting for its soul. We are struggling to allow room for the growth and development of employees and the organisation. A truly great leader recognises the value and need for people to grow which has huge benefits on the organisation and its customers’ experiences.
Working in an environment where people are able to speak freely allows us to express a way of thinking that is not necessarily in line with the masses. It enables robust questioning of ideas, creating an essential mechanism for more opinions, options and better decision making.
However, the very same freedom to speak can destroy relationships with co-workers and customers. A cynical remark or insult can seriously damage relationships and have a significant impact on our mood. Words can be as deadly as they are inspiring.
Thankfully, with the right care and attention, relationships can be healed over time. If leaders conduct themselves in the way they expect their employees to behave, this is likely to filter through the organisation.
The greatest companies are those whose employees feel cherished and respected by everyone. Where the standards by which everyone lives are clearly defined.
Lewis Maleh, Founder
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