The world of work, and more specifically, professional leadership, has evolved quite a bit over the last few decades. The new norms that address behavior, equal treatment, political correctness, and a general sense of decency have all made positive inroads in our work lives.
This is progress!
Old Habits (Crutches) Die Hard
For HR leaders everywhere the changes listed above are a welcomed step forward. So many hours are wasted each year addressing juvenile behavior from leaders who believe their job title or advanced academic degree gives them license to be an absolute buffoon.
Helpful hint: Buffoons are losers, not leaders.
The changes above should mean that other areas of business also move past traditional stereotypes of responsibility and reporting as well. Let's examine two of the most common urban legends that many organizations continue to believe.
Over the years I've been asked countless times about the turnover woes of various departments in the organizations where I've worked. The interest is well-intended and sincere, but is usually misguided. Quite simply, I don't lead the team where the turnover rate is high. I haven't set the example in those departments, nor have I role-modeled the behavior that I want the other team members to replicate.
I can ask questions...I can learn a few facts...but I honestly cannot speak to another department's turnover because I do not lead that department. Yet, human resources is so often "responsible" for turnover.
That simply no longer applies in the modern world.
"The assumption that HR is responsible for culture is one of the biggest leadership failures of our time."
I'm serious. If an organization is going to assign culture to a department, it needs to forget about improving culture and resign itself to the fact that it's competition is about to recruit away their talent and annihilate their market share.
Culture is every leader's responsibility...and ultimately every team member's as well. Culture speaks to "the whole thing" and candidly HR is not the whole organization. So how in the world can one department be responsible for it?
Employee engagement surveys, recognition programs, and other forms of interactive initiatives with employees may begin in the human resources department, but it is the leadership team that executes those programs.
Only leadership can drive culture...not a department.
How About You
Are you still feeling the pressure to "manage" the turnover and culture in your organization? If so, it might be time to let the other members of the leadership team know that they are failing...miserably. If it's too much to tell them yourself...it's probably because the culture isn't quite where it should be. Imagine that?
I'd love to hear from you.