The Human Resource: Building a strong culture, part II

If you’re a leader reading this, perform a self-check as to who you surround yourself with at your firm, and who you listen to for guidance and advice. If your answer doesn't include all your management team, you may have a culture problem and you may be the cause. If you don't have a leadership team because of your actions and behaviors, you are doing your firm a disservice by excluding those individuals who can be adding the most value to your practice. However, if they have been excluded, imagine how broken the trust and relationship is with those who can contribute to the firm’s success.

If you are a manager or an employee who is reading this and relating to the negative culture, the lost trust, and the poor leadership demonstrated by your leader or leadership team, it is time to speak up. Speak up and share your concerns. Speak up and ask difficult questions. Speak up and demand leadership adheres to the core values and ethical behaviors the firm once stood for. Because if you don't, you too are promulgating the problem and must accept the situation. However, if you are willing to say what needs to be said to those who need to hear it, you may actually be a catalyst for positive change for the firm and for yourself.

At the end of the day, we all make the decision to complain to others about our problems and deal with the situation or communicate our concerns with those who can change the situation and gain insight and information to help us make decisions in our lives. Not wanting to be cliché, however what I mean by this is you are part of the problem, you find opportunities to be part of the solutions, or you gather the information you need to determine if it is time to leave the current firm with a failed culture and poor leadership and seek out a firm with the culture and work environment that will empower you and embrace the value you have to offer.

Certainly, most people ignore the third option. Why? It is easy to complain and do nothing. It is easy to ignore the problem yet deal with it day in and day out getting frustrated, stressed out, and negative yourself. Working in a negative culture doesn't mean the feelings stay at work. Beyond the negative impact on your personal health, you take these problems home with you to your family, friends, and loved ones. All, by the way, would love for you to find a new job where you are valued and happy again so they can stop listening to you complain all the time.

Remember, what you need to do is challenge the status quo, ask the difficult questions, and determine for yourself if you believe and trust the culture and situation will change. If you do, then put 100 percent of yourself into helping the change happen and champion the culture and support leadership's efforts. However, if you gain insight and information that leads you to believe it is no longer worth your energy to be upset and frustrated, that you no longer trust leadership, and that you are not being treated in the manner you like, then recognize you have the information you need to make an informed decision about your career and make a change.

You have to decide if you want a job that you think is stable and "permanent" yet makes you miserable and doesn't help you achieve your potential is better than another position that would support your goals. The grass is not always greener, but you spend most of your waking hours working and around the people you work with. If you want to take control of your life and future, determine where you really want to be and make it happen. No one will do it for you, as no one can do it for you.

To summarize, negative culture is a slow and painful death for a firm. As a leader, you need to make an honest assessment of the culture of your firm and then take action to change and fix it, or recognize you are the primary problem. Why? You are the leader. For employees, if you aren't sure about the culture and you have lost faith and trust in the leadership, tell them, so they can do something about it, or confirm your beliefs that it may be time for a change. I wish you all tremendous success and hope this insight motivates you to champion change and action to achieve the goals you want in life.

About Warren Cook

Warren is the President and co-founder of SymbianceHR and provides strategic oversight for service delivery, business operations, and technical guidance on consulting engagements. He is a human resources subject matter expert with over 25 years of experience as a strategic human resources business partner, project manager, and people leader across private and public sectors organizations. Warren is responsible for the strategic planning of all client consulting engagements from initial needs assessment and compliance review through delivery of customized strategic solutions that meet the client’s business goals. He has a proven track record of providing executive coaching and guidance to business leaders and human resource professionals at all levels including the C-Suite of Fortune 100 companies. Warren is also the Chief Talent Officer and cofounder of SymbianceHiRe, a Symbiance company dedicated to providing direct placement talent acquisition services and temporary and contract staffing solutions to the business community. Warren holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management, an MBA in Project Management, and a M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Warren is the author of “Applicant Interview Preparation – Practical Coaching for Today.”

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