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On Company Culture And Leading From The Heart

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October 2011
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I met Meghan M. Biro onTwitter. She tweeted one of my first articles about what
great entrepreneurs have in common
. Virtually every retweet I saw was
associated with her or TalentCulture, the recruiting, branding, and career services firm she founded. She’s written for and been featured in many publications, including Glassdoor and CBS MoneyWatch, and emphasizes the importance of personality-culture fit in matching job seekers with their optimal workplace environment.

Lead from the Heart

In the following email interview, I ask Meghan about the influence a
company’s culture and leaders has on its employees. I’ve since had the pleasure
of meeting her in person, and I’m planning to summarize our in-depth
conversation in a future post.

How does an organization’s culture influence someone’s personal
brand? How does a personal brand influence an organization’s
culture?

That is a good question, because it gets at the heart of the issue – personal
brand and corporate culture are co-dependent. Culture is the way employees
describe where they work, understand the business, and see themselves as part of
the organization. For a business, building a strong company culture will not by
itself guarantee success, but it is a key in attracting talent–and talent
determines a business’s success. For an employee, it is critical to assess a
company’s culture early in the job search process – you don’t want to by a Type
A person in a Type B company.

What companies have created a brand-based corporate culture that has improved their ability to recruit top talent?

Apple and Google stand out. Apple values people who are perfectionists, who have a vision of the way things should work
and a passion for making them work just so. Google looks for people who are
adept at solving complex problems, then lets them solve them.

Do you think employees expect more from their employers than they did a generation ago?

They expect more emotional support and flexibility. Sadly they expect and
demand less real career support – the training, the management courses, the
mentors that previous generations took for granted.

What do employees, especially recent college graduates, look for in
their managers and leaders?

I’d like to think they are looking for people who can help them learn and
advance, people who are great role models, but I fear, in many cases, they are
looking for a friend, an simulacrum of a parent/professor relationship. In this
economy, too, they may just be looking for a job and not thinking much about
what managers and leaders have to offer.

You say, “The worst mistake a leader can make is to assume that he or she is a leader simply through the act of taking on a new title or role.” Why is this so problematic?

We think, because we have been given a title, a role to play, that we are
qualified. In most cases that’s a bad assumption. For companies it’s a gamble, a
bet the management has made that you can take the qualities and skills you
possess and grow into a leader. It becomes a problem in two ways: the person
isn’t able to rise to the occasion, and the company wants to cut its losses
fast, rather than invest in helping the person grow into leadership. Most
leaders are made, not born. If you find a born leader, stick close.

Why do you think emotional intelligence is lacking in today’s
leaders? Do you think this is more or less pronounced than in the
past?

People are sometimes selfish. They want to make a million dollars before
they’re 30, they want to be in three startups that flip out for huge multiples,
they want to be partners in the law firm. They don’t want to invest in the
introspection and analysis required for emotional intelligence. Everyone wants a
3-Series and a condo. It’s too hard to do that and care about the people around
you.

What traits do those who lead from the heart possess? Who exemplifies leading from the heart?

It goes back to emotional intelligence. Those who lead from the heart have
it. They are self-aware, in control of themselves (self-management), aware of
others (social awareness) and possess social skills – they care about others,
they care about context, they are open to what is happening around them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Become a better manager and leader through Paragon Strategies New Manager Academy on Nov 4th at http://www.paragonstrategies.com.

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