How to Build a “We” Culture

August 23, 2012

By: Melissa
Image credit: Hugh MacLeod
You know that one boss, client or colleague who always takes credit for every team success? You know who I'm talking about, right? It's all about him and the decisions he makes – never about the hard work the team put in to get the company where it is now.
Unfortunately, we encounter these leaders all the time. But the confusion sets in when we read books like “Good to Great” or “Multipliers” in which the key points are about hiring and duplicating existing team players and making everyone smarter. Pay more attention, leaders. Here are a few tips for new leaders to display the “we” atmosphere instead of the “I”:

  • You're all in it to win it (and lose, too, if that happens). You shouldn't be on a sports team if you're always going to blame the goalie when the ball flies into the net. You need to make decisions as a team. So, everyone is responsible for outcomes to learn and grow as a team.
  • Keep the right people on the proverbial team bus. Each member of the team is motivated by different things. Remember this and figure out what makes each person tick. Your success is their success.
  • Know what your team is REALLY good at doing. There are people out there who are really good at turning their passions into accomplishments. Group these passionate employees together to create powerhouse internal teams for your most promising opportunities.
  • Provide an open environment. Create a path for the truth to be told and heard. You need to let your team members know their opinions matter. This provokes trust and instills a happy culture.
  • Foster creativity and team building. Not every decision comes from the highest person on the totem pole. The greatest ideas can come from any level. Allow each team member to feel comfortable expressing their ideas, and you'll see greatness.
  • Influence the influencers. We say this in PR for our clients. But, we say it from a managerial perspective when it comes to allowing middle management to grow. In this case, the middle managers can be the influencers for those below them. Motivate the right people to set an example for others.
  • And finally, infuse “we” language in all outward communication. If “we” did it then “we” are successful, and “I” ain't. Got it?

What tips have you found to be helpful as a leader who provokes a "we" atmosphere?

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