Disconnects between departments, low levels of motivation, a negative atmosphere, employees who feud and power-struggle – many workplaces will eventually wrestle with at least one of these problems. On the surface, they might seem unrelated, but I’d suggest they all boil down to one thing: a culture of generosity.
I might sum this up as the Me Culture versus the Us Culture.
In an office where Me Culture is dominant, people don’t share ideas because they want the credit for themselves, departments don’t communicate because they are afraid of losing control of their projects, and people use collaboration as a means to wrestle for power or to reinforce their position. Honestly, who would want to work in that kind of environment?
In an office where an Us culture dominates, collaboration and teamwork are the norm and new ideas prosper from being shared.
Developing this kind of work environment is a process that starts with managers who act in generous ways. In fact, the most powerful leaders are typically people who give generously to others. Think about it, if people know they can rely on you for help, they are putting you in a position of influence. If you are giving insight, help, or a key bit of information, you are directing projects and helping others. If you are coaching people and investing your time in developing their talent, you are making your team and department more successful. All these examples of generosity are also examples of great leadership.
What’s more, this kind of leadership has a profound impact on the climate of a workplace. Giving to others shapes the environment around you and inspires other to pay it forward. That’s the power of generosity. Giving not because you expect something back, but giving so that other people pay it forward.
As coaches and managers, we should certainly be coaching to the development of generous, pay-it-forward mentality, but we should also recognize that workplace culture starts with us, with the example we set for our staff and employees.
Se next time someone stops by your office and asks for help, set aside five minutes and see how you can help. And if you can’t point them toward someone who can. Sure you’re busy – we all are – but with that one act, you can make a big impact. And when someone stops back to thank you for what you did, just ask them to pay it forward.
Excited to learn how to incorporate this into your workplace? Check out our free webinar and you'll learn insider tips and tricks on how to do so!