July 10, 2013

Leadership starts at the top!

Doug Lawrence

Leadership and Culture 1







I’m sure you’ve all heard this saying before, and while it may seem somewhat redundant in that many of us visualize leaders as being “at the top”, how many organizations truly understand this and its criticality in their success?  Every successful organization begins with strong leadership.  Leaders are responsible for so many components of a successful organization. Business goals and objectives, strategic vision and direction, road maps, people management – the list goes on. At the heart of all this is morals and values – company morals and values as well as leadership morals and values.  These must align in order for the organization to truly thrive.

Followed closely by leadership is people.  People are the foundation of successful organizations.  Having the right people in the organization (and the wrong people not in the organization) are absolutely crucial to the success of any business.  Vision and strategy aren’t much good unless you have the right people to implement it and see it through to fruition.  But what does “right” people mean?  What makes a person “right” for an organization?  There are many publications in print today that debate the pros and cons of what makes a person “right” for an organization.  One could argue that there is no measurable way to define the “right” person; one could suggest though that these folks have one or more of the following characteristics:

-          Honesty

-          Integrity

-          Self-motivation

-          Passion

Where do these characteristics come from? Is every individual born with some or all of these? Can these characteristics be learned?  Can they be enhanced?  And what influence does the organization have in all this?  I believe that it’s a combination of both of these things – a person’s internal (or learned) characteristics and behavior combined with the work environment, or more accurately, the culture of that work environment.

A healthy work environment is critical to the success of the organization.  Again there are many publications out there of what constitutes a “healthy” work environment.  I personally define a healthy work environment as a place free from racism, violence, discrimination, and hatred.  A place where new ideas are not only listened to but sought after and encouraged; where positive, constructive debate thrives and the spirit of constant improvement lives and breathes.  A place where you can’t wait to get to in the morning and hate to leave at night.  But does such a thing really exist?  My father used to tell me, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.  Never were truer words spoken.

How does an organization foster such an environment?  It starts at the top – with Leadership.  Organizational leaders must subscribe to and believe that this type of work environment is possible, and, more importantly, support it.  Without the support of leadership, it is exponentially more difficult to create and foster a positive healthy work atmosphere.  Leadership sets the vision and direction not only for the business, but the people as well.  This is where the Power of Mentoring can play a critical role.  People want to be empowered – they want to be engaged and accountable.  They want to be heard and have work that is meaningful and impactful.  Having a strong mentoring culture helps build that and more.  Think of the power of an organization that leverages strong, effective mentoring principles and practices – the sky’s the limit!  Mentoring can help bring out the best in individuals, teams of individuals, and organizations in whole.  Mentoring can foster so many skills – teamwork, self-esteem, relationship management, communication skills – again, the sky is the limit.  I can speak from personal experience when I say how incredibly valuable mentoring has been in my life.  I have been blessed with 3 or 4 mentors along my journey and I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without their guidance and tutelage – they are without a doubt a large part of the reason for my success today.

Embracing the Power of Mentoring can help create and foster the type of work environment where people thrive and succeed while at the same time enjoying a happy and healthy atmosphere.  The organization benefits, the employees benefit, and everyone wins.  The question really becomes, “can you afford not to”?

Author – Kevin Junek


We are honored to have Kevin Junek – Senior Technical Account Manager - Microsoft Premier Support Services as a Guest Contributor to our blog site. Kevin’s years of leadership experience has had an impact on many people over the course of his career. Kevin has embraced the “Power of Mentoring” and is just completing the course requirements to become a Certified Mentor Practitioner. Kevin is a TalentC Advisory Board member where he provides his leadership and guidance to TalentC Management. We know that you will enjoy his perspective on mentoring, leadership and culture and we look forward to additional articles from Kevin in the future.


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