Early in my career, I had the painful experience of realizing I had been on the wrong path for months, maybe years. Then, one day, as I took a deep look in the mirror. There was this clear sense that I didn’t recognize the person I was becoming. And, quite frankly, I didn’t much like her either. Ouch!

Over the years, I had fully immersed myself in my organization’s culture, mimicking the actions and behaviors of the leaders without stopping to consider if I agreed with them. Success overshadowed authenticity. Or, more specifically, being who others wanted me to become was more important than who I am and what I believe.

The workplace cultures we create are powerful in shaping who we are. After all, we spend 2,000+ hours each year at work. Whether the culture established is intentional or accidental, it has an enormous impact on who our team members are becoming. And, it certainly bleeds over into home life. Leaders often talk about the outcomes we expect in terms of business growth and financial goals. But, what about the actions, attitudes, and behaviors that shape the way people work together.

The biggest question that comes to mind here is, “Would our people say they’re proud of the person they’re becoming as a result of being a part of the culture we’ve fostered?

Read that last sentence again. “…of the cultures we’ve fostered.”

In my example above, it wasn’t that the actual mission and culture as defined by the organization were awful. It just didn’t match the reality of what happened day-to-day, or the actions of the leaders whom many, myself included, saw as examples of success.

As you consider the team you lead and the culture you’ve been a part of creating, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does our defined culture and values match what happens on a day-to-day basis?
  • Are we highlighting and rewarding people who exemplify our values?
  • Do the leaders in our organization exhibit traits and characteristics in line with our values?

Cheers to fostering a culture that leads to people being proud of who they’re becoming!

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