Seeking a Leadership Culture in the Workplace


Women interested in pursuing a leadership opportunity need to first find a company with a leadership culture. By that I mean, that from the top down, all of the leaders support, encourage and demonstrate more leadership traits rather than those of a manager.

First – just a basic definition of the difference from Go2Hr:

The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. A successful business owner needs to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success.

The article goes on to list a few of the core traits of a strong leader:

  • Honesty & Integrity: are crucial to get your people to believe you and buy in to the journey you are taking them on
  • Vision: know where you are, where you want to go and enroll your team in charting a path for the future
  • Inspiration: inspire your team to be all they can by making sure they understand their role in the bigger picture
  • Ability to Challenge: do not be afraid to challenge the status quo, do things differently and have the courage to think outside the box
  • Communication Skills: keep your team informed of the journey, where you are, where you are heading and share any roadblocks you may encounter along the way

So if you are seeking to work for a company with a leadership culture, you must first examine the key executives within the company to see how they match up to these leadership traits.

Does the company offer opportunities for project leadership?

Is there an opportunity for cross departmental training?

Are associates given the opportunity to be partnered with a mentor?

Is continued education in preparation for a promotion offered?

Do the associates feel a true connection between their company role and the overall success of the company?

These are just some questions you will want to examine. LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to do a little research into the individuals currently working at a company you are interested in. Check out their profile and look for special projects they have been part of. Connect with a few and ask questions that will help you determine more about the culture within the organization.

In the Forbes article Effective Leadership: How To Be More Than Just A Boss, five executives share their ideas of what it means to be a leader and how companies can foster a leadership culture.  Here are just two that really resonate:

Jenny Clevidence of Jenny Clevidence believes the difference between a boss and a leader ultimately comes down to the culture a supervisor promotes.

“If an individual is truly a leader versus a boss, you will see a culture of leadership. This means that everyone in the organization has an opportunity to lead in some way. People feel ownership, accountability, meaning, and are engaged in their work when a true leader is in role. When you have a boss in role, people tend to feel that they are doers, task masters, and are generally disengaged or going through the motions.”

Examine how you feel as an associate in your current position. Do you feel like you are a doer or part of the vision, mission and value of the organization?

Dr. Christi Hegstad, president ofMAP Professional Development:  Leadership is a way of life while a boss only exists where their power does.

“A leader wants to see others flourish, and will contribute to that flourishing however they can,” says Christi. “A boss exists within an organization, whereas a leader can lead at work, at home, at the grocery store, and all places in between. By inspiring change, influencing decisions, speaking on behalf of someone without a voice, and a myriad of other ways, one can demonstrate leadership.”

A business with a leadership culture is one where everyone’s opinion has a voice. Working in a company that values the opinions of all workers at every level, gender and ethnic background leads to a more creative, out of the box way of problem solving.

Recently Liz Ryan wrote an article for Forbes entitled: Management Vs. Leadership: Five Ways They Are Different.In her article she is speaking to those in the middle of the company who seek to advance. She is offering ways you can learn to be more of a leader rather than just a boss or a manager.

At the end of her article she offers some amazing advice:

Speak up! That’s what leaders do. Everyone is a leader, and everyone is CEO of his or her career. You run your life and your career.

I love that. You are the CEO of your own career. If you have that mindset, what changes might you make? What would you speak up about? Visit our Facebook page and share your thoughts.

IMG_5268cJJ DiGeronimo, keynote speaker for women, based in Cleveland, presents keynote addresses on women in leadership, diversity in business and advancement for women.

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JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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