In the business field leaders are commonly technically oriented. Often neglecting the human side that is so fundamental to the leadership role. Some are focused on financial metrics, others on product performance, and quality, etcetera. This, in part, influenced by their function within the organization. Other times leaders are just oblivious to the signs their workforce displays. In the worst of cases, some choose to ignore these signs altogether. Moreover, too often seems as if only the Human Resources function is concerned with the culture of the organization.

Culture is such an intrinsic part of creating a successful company. With this said, I wanted to offer the following signs that could be present in your organization today:

Employee Turnover: Are your employees leaving the organization? What is too much turnover? According to a recent survey the total turnover in 2015 across all industries in the U.S. was 16.7%. If your turnover is growing year over year, people are making a statement about working for the organization.

Low Morale: People acting disgruntled and complaining about their leaders or the organization. When initiating change, of any kind, people have no initiative and show no desire to be involved. This could be a signal of past experiences where people felt they were not included.

Here is a blog describing how to create a Lean Culture.

Leadership Instability: Having instability on the leadership ranks. Having turnover is understandable. But having 3 managers in last 2 years (for example) on one or several key leadership positions sends a clear message to your workforce: Anyone here is expendable. This clearly does not foster loyalty.

Dysfunctional Teams: When your teams, especially those leading, are dysfunctional they heavily influence your culture the wrong way. When there is lack of trust, silos begin to grow, collaboration lacks, and division prevails. The proverbial “us” vs “them” mentality becomes noticeable; this symptom can be visible between functions, departments, and shifts, to name a few.

Please download the Infographic – Traditional Leader vs Lean Leader which highlights the differences between leaders encouraging an environment of continuous improvement, collaboration and trust, and leaders that don’t.

Leaders behavior: Perhaps the most influential in this list: When your leaders, from the front line all the way to the corner office, display subpar leadership behaviors they damage your culture in a way that is hard to overcome. These behaviors destroy trust and morale and soon will lead to turnover.

Many of these symptoms are created in response to leadership behaviors. Please download the e-book The Lean Leader Manual to learn how Lean leaders manage in a Lean environment.

These signs are very noticeable if we pay close attention to the human interaction happening around us. I encourage you to watch for these signs and take a proactive approach to addressing them. Please share your experiences in the comment section.


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