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Stay Humble To Build A Fantastic Work Culture

Leaders often walk the path of role models. A role model is tasked with cultivating new talent as well as paving the way for successors.

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Across the globe, there are leaders at the helm of flourishing companies who are aspiring to leave a deep and lasting impact on their workplace. At their core, all of these successful organizations possess certain qualities like accountability to ensure that everyone gives their best possible effort, empathy to be able to connect with those you lead, and transparency to make sure employees feel informed about important company news and updates.

Out of these and many other traits, the worth of staying humble is often overlooked, or not discussed. Partly, potentially, because of the typical fallacy that the humble one is weak. Some believe that humble people fail to take a stand for themselves as they are easily intimidated by others. Many relate humility with self-doubt.

Yet being humble is critical, especially at the leadership level. A leader cannot become successful in the long run sans humility, be it professionally or personally. Being humble is not about being passive. It is about showing respect and acknowledging others.

After tasting the reigning success in the corporate world, some leaders make the mistake of repelling themselves from receiving criticism from others; which leads them into complacency. Professionals who are not humble enough often tend to put the blame on others for their shortcomings. On the other hand, a humble professional will be more likely to take criticism as constructive feedback and willingly evaluate how valid it is – and then most importantly continue to innovate, improve, and grow.

Developing a fantastic work culture is not rocket science, but it’s important to keep working at it every single day. Though it requires conscious effort and continuous practice, the magic it weaves in terms of growth, employee productivity, a positive work environment, and employee motivation is worthy enough. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Management, humble leaders are able to delegate more and, therefore, innovate better. As a result, company performance and employee satisfaction improved significantly, resulting in improved firm performance. 

Today’s multigenerational workforce views their workplace and its leaders differently, and have come to expect more from both. Compared with the past, it’s more common for an employee to become unhappy at work despite a good remuneration. Gone are the days when employees considered just monetary benefits and being loyal to one or two companies throughout their entire careers. Organisations need to adapt to modern workforce needs and preferences such as ethical leadership, growth opportunities, mentor relationships, trust and transparency, and meaningful work. It is essential for a leader to connect with employees, to understand their psyche better, show them how their work matters, and inspire them to do great things. 

The culture at Kronos cascades from the top. Kronos CEO Aron Ain fiercely contends that there is a direct link between employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and business success, which he outlines in the award-winning book, “WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work.” Aron has set an example for the rest of the world with his exceptional leadership qualities, keeping humility at the centre of it – which he outlines in chapter 1, “Become an Un-Leader.” 

Here are a few more tips that I follow, as a leader, which I think leaders of all organisations could benefit from, to help build an inspiring work culture: 

Be clear about your expectations of how people within your organisation should behave. 

From implementing formal policy to upholding a code of conduct, it is essential to establish a clear understanding of etiquette in the workplace that nurtures and motivates individuals in their roles. This can only be accomplished through a transparent work culture. 

Practice what you preach. 

Leaders often walk the path of role models. A role model is tasked with cultivating new talent as well as paving the way for successors. A good example goes a long way when it comes to grooming the new workforce. This being said, it is essential for managers and executives to action evangelise these models to motivate others to follow suit.  

Map it back: Weave your culture into the DNA of every activity. 

Ensure your values and expectations echo throughout the entire organisational structure – from formal employee offerings to the language used in company-wide communicates, to unique activities. Everything should be structured and developed with the consideration “does this map back to our values and the DNA of who we are?” This will establish a set standard across all levels. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Sumeet Doshi

The author is Country Manager, India, Kronos Incorporated

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