Leadership, or the lack thereof, plays a major role in establishing bonds among teams, as well as with other departments and workgroups in the workplace. In his book Organizational Culture and Leadership, Social Psychologist Edgar Schein writes about the leaders’ role in developing the organizational culture. He stresses the importance of every interaction as having a positive or negative impact. In this context, commitment is constantly earned based on a leader’s actions. When commitment is given or not, it shows up in your employee’s daily actions or inactions, and like trust, it can be lost quickly.
Workplace engagement and commitment are driven by leader behaviors and not by the actions of any individual employee. The more a leader focuses on the behaviors that enable them to become the best version of themselves the more significant impact they will have on individuals and the organization.
During my combat experiences, what mattered most was who was on your left and right. I was committed to the soldiers on my left and right, and they were committed to me as well. It was a commitment that was given; not asked for. It was a two-way street, based on trust, competence, and character. Leaders have to work hard to earn and keep that kind of commitment. Leadership is not passive, it is active, and is a relationship between a leader and other members of the organization. Leaders must engage in behavior that maintains each team member’s commitment to them and the organization.
Focus on these 3 areas and you will inspire and gain commitment within your organization
1. Practice Empathy.
When leaders practice empathy they get results. (See my post https://bridge3.com/practice-empathy-get-results/) By starting with empathy and establishing a deep understanding of their employees to their left and right, leaders can really “know” their people and be able to inspire them to take action as a team, gain commitment to the team and to each other.
2. Strengthen Bonds.
Relationship building by leaders is what gains commitment and emotional investment from employees which is connected to engagement and productivity. Commitment starts with leaders establishing strong bonds within their teams (See my post https://bridge3.com/leverage-your-competition-and-win/ ), and scales to the departments and units to their left and right, forming a network or relationships across the organizational structure.
3. Foster Recognition.
In a Forbes’ article People Leave Managers, Not Companies the author shares that the relationship between managers and employees plays a critical role in how employees feel about the organization. One of the elements of great leadership is understanding the forms of feedback that matters most to employees. Start a culture of recognition. Leaders should let their employees know the value they add to the organization. If they are not providing value then they should be provided developmental feedback.
It’s all about relationships.
Commitment is based on relationships and continuously negotiating and renegotiating of the relationship through actions and inactions by leaders, supervisors, and managers. For an organization to realize its full potential, commitment must flow throughout the organization. By starting at the team level, focusing on developing bonds and relationships between the employees and workgroups on the left and right of you, commitment can be scaled, improving the overall dynamic across your organization.
Time for a tune-up?
At Bridge 3 we help organizations develop teams with high levels of commitment to each other and the organization. We start with what we call a Team Tune-Up, an assessment of each team member’s emotional intelligence, thinking style, and behavior during an interpersonal conflict. Once we have established baselines for an organization’s teams and workgroups we focus on developing the team dynamic, purpose, and on strengthening bonds and commitments within teams and organizations.
I’d love to help you and your organization get on a path to a more positive, productive and committed team. Contact me today for a free consultation.