While having my breakfast on Monday morning this week, I came across a piece in The Times (07/02/22) about the culture at Brewdog, the craft beer maker. Whether it is the case now I can’t comment, but according to the article the culture there is one of fear. Brewdog are by all accounts a successful company and yet I wonder how much more they could achieve with a different culture? After all, who wants to work with leaders who cultivate an environment of fear? Life is too short.
“We desperately need more leaders who are committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts, rather than unevolved leaders who lead from hurt and fear.” Brené Brown
My belief is that when leaders cultivate an environment of fear it means a business or organisation will never achieve the potential it could. What is it that causes leaders who have the vision and courage to start a business to resort to bullying, blame, and recrimination?
Leaders, what kind of culture do you want? Presumably one that inspires and empowers, and yet as I look into different organisations, I come across leaders who have no idea what it is like to be on the others side of them. This kind of blindness ultimately undermines their leadership influence. I believe it’s time for a to step up and do the work needed to resolve this problem. Successful leaders are those willing to do the hard work of knowing yourself to lead yourself. Of making the invisible visible.
As Brené Brown says, we desperately need more leaders who have the courage to look inside and decide to change. Working on yourself requires some clarity which you may not want to face. However, your leadership influence will make a quantum leap when you step into the mess, looking to be intentional in the way you act and behave. The potential alternative is a toxic culture with a disengaged workforce, fearful of leaders who are too lazy or afraid to make the changes necessary to create a culture in which everyone can win.
What do you want your leadership legacy to be?
How can you grow in this area as a leader? Where do you start?
There is hope, a lot can be done – here are steps you can take:
- Take a look in the mirror and find out what is driving you, what tendencies you have both good and bad. You can’t change what you can’t see.
- Build trust by trusting those you lead. Everyone will make mistakes, but by creating a culture of learning instead of blame people will grow.
- Fear is a hard task master, instead choose authenticity. It doesn’t mean you are incompetent or weak, it makes connection more likely, and communication easier.
- Act with the highest good in mind of those you lead.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, and you will need an advocate to work with you to help you uncover your blind spots, champion your journey, and urge you on. It is worth it.
No-one should come to work on a Monday morning dreading what will happen.
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow
Every journey starts with the first step what will yours be. You can take your first step here.