As a leader, one thing you must be vigilant about is keeping an eye out for any process or culture creep which might lead to complacency or a disconnect with the present-day realities found just outside your office walls. While there are many examples in today’s headlines of organizations which have drifted so far off-course that it’s hard to see a viable turnaround in their near future, few illustrate the risks and fallout from such situations as the ensuing drama around the capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy.
In the piece “Seven Tips for Becoming a Better Boss”, leaders from several organizations which were recently recognized as being one of the “Best Small Workplaces of 2011” share what they found to be the key steps which were behind their organization’s success and positive workplace environment.
In light of the actions of the Costa Concordia captain and his superiors, this piece ironically also reveals how the current culture and workplace attitudes at Costa Cruises set into motion actions which not only lead to this fatal maritime disaster, but which also played a role in defining how their employees responded to this crisis.
Consider, for example, the following three lessons these leaders ascribe as being key to their collective success as an organization, and how the Costa Cruises leadership’s failure to do the same has now cast some serious doubt about the future viability of their organization.
1. Put your organizational values front and center by holding everyone accountable to them
“Hold everyone accountable to your core beliefs and values, including you. No ‘license to kill’ is allowed no matter how much money someone brings into your business. Otherwise, a double standard develops which will derail the creation of a great workplace.” – CEO Jim Rashe, Kahler Slater
2. A leader must exemplify the behaviour they want to see in those they lead
“In order to build a great workplace, you must first build yourself by gaining a deep understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and you must completely commit to developing yourself into the best leader and person you can be. At the same time, you must hire outstanding people who are as committed as you are to build a great workplace.” – Robert Pasin, Chief Wagon Officer, Radio Flyer
3. Inform your employees how their actions connect to your organization’s vision
“It’s said that eight out of 10 people come to work in the morning wanting to make a difference, but by lunch it’s down to four. That’s usually a result of the environment more than anything, not just the physical but the interpersonal. Lead your employees with a clear vision, support them with adequate resources, and possibly most important — reward them for treating others with respect. Motivate everyone in a positive, constructive way, and your biggest problem will be having to build more office space sooner than you thought!” – CEO Tim Hohmann, AutomationDirect
As much as the Costa Concordia will be remembered because of the captain’s cowardice and lack of ethics, the lessons shared in “Seven Tips for Becoming a Better Boss” also demonstrate how this tragedy can serve as an example of what happens when we fail to honour and respect the obligations and responsibilities that comes with leadership.
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