Corporate culture evolves as leadership models change. In the past fifty years, business has moved on from a leadership model that was top-down, with the leaders crafting a strong vision for the business that they shared down the line. This type of leadership was reflected in the traditional pyramid-shaped organizational chart. Leadership, with control over value and mission, was the small point at the top, and the majority of the workforce were the strong building blocks at the bottom of the pyramid.
New business leadership models suggest that a leader’s role is to support the capabilities and human potential of the workforce. With a business goal of generating a product or service, the modern leader uses the power of the collective to find effective work methods and materials, solve problems, and create new value with the ideas that are generated by a group of workers who are developing to their greatest potential. Think of this leadership model like a wagon wheel, with each area in communication with the others, and leadership providing the strength from the middle.
Even the most visionary leaders don’t generate ideas and solve problems with the creativity and efficiency of a collective of voices. This new paradigm means the role of the leader becomes one that values diversity, excels at communication, and understands that a company’s greatest resource is its workforce.
With changing leadership models, the workforce becomes engaged in solving the problems of the business they’re responsible for. They are working for more than money, and they have a stake in the outcomes. One of the most important corporate changes that can support this degree of employee engagement is multiple lines of communication.
There are many new communication technologies that support communication that moves both up and down the leadership chain and between workgroups and departments–both horizontal and vertical communication. Respect for privacy, and a policy that allows the workforce to make public problems such as safety issues, quality issues, and workplace interpersonal behavior, without the risk of retaliation, is critical for these new lines of communication to be effective.
We would love to work with you to design a workplace that reflects the changing roles in leadership models and an engaged workforce. Get in touch!