What's your department's climate? And more importantly, can you weather the forecast?
A few weeks ago one of my favorite speakers and leaders, Jeff Henderson, spoke about the concept of climate change within all of our relationships. At first I wasn't really engaged and almost dismissed the message, but then I realized how deeply this notion affects our work environments and the impact we all make on a day-to-day basis.
You can have the best marketing plan in place, but do you have the right environment in which to thrive?
The basic premise is that the leader of a group dictates the climate, and the climate therefore dictates the forecast. Clearly this principle also applies to our personal relationships, but we're talking about business here. (You can see your therapist for advice on your personal life.)
The leader to a large degree determines the mood and behaviors of the group and that, of course, has a cascading effect through the organization. We all bring various bits of baggage to our environments, but do we check it at the door or let it impact our world, so to speak? And at what cost does what we bring or how we react to situations at work affect our organization's performance?
So we have to ask ourselves as leaders, What climate do we create when we walk into a room? The trick to this is to ask your team, your peers and your inner circle what it's like to be on the other side of you. Sometimes we refer to this as a 360 review. The concept itself is really simple, but putting it into action—well that's another thing. Ouch…do we really want to know?
Regardless of what you call it, expect a mix of good and humbling feedback. And don't be surprised if most of it is humbling. We aren't going to grow as leaders and we won't evolve our corporate culture if we don't take a hard look at what climate we bring to our organizations. You can be an amazing manager who constantly exceeds your numbers and pleases the C-level execs, but if you're creating a revolving-door culture, or one that is dysfunctional in some way, it's time to do a climate check. This concept is key to attracting and retaining great employees.
It's been about two years since I did a formal 360 review with my team and peers, but I plan to go through this exercise shortly. The forecast might be a bit cloudy, but I promise you it's going to get brighter.