3 strategies emerging leaders use to drive culture

Emerging leaders are a very powerful force.

The keys to shifting culture.

The influential heart of leadership.

Easily approachable and the connection to grass roots positions.

Role models to impressionable staff.

The next line of executives and senior leaders.

Generally speaking, extremely progressive and open minded.

People with growth mindsets.

Focused on building and establishing their careers.

Often compelled to accomplish and deliver.

With a strong focus on goal setting and performance.

I often think of this phase of their career as the Saturday “moving day” at the Masters.

Trying to set themselves up for the final round on Sunday.

Some emerging leaders will advance up the leaderboard very quickly. Others collapse under the pressure and stagnate.

In reality, time and resources are a very precious commodity to them.

They are vulnerable to the pressures of their roles.

They seek support from each other and senior leaders to buffer them against feeling overwhelmed and alone.

As executives, you don’t want to lose your best emerging leaders.

People you have heavily invested in.

Nothing is more powerful to a business than having its emerging leaders in alignment with the executive and board.

Nothing is more damaging to culture than a disaffected group of emerging leaders.

They are the true swing vote.

I often get asked by emerging leaders – where do we start?

I found that the easiest place to start was building totems.

Introducing new initiatives that represent key aspects of the culture.

Photos, posters, notice boards, honour boards, launches, awards.

Highlighting the 'values' of the business all over the office space.

Starting new team building activities.

Introducing new traditions (weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual).

Engaging with staff in more collaborative and vulnerable ways. Opening the lines of communication.

Making the internal imagery and culture all about the people. More so than traditional external marketing images.

Why you ask?

So many people prefer tactile learning.

A learning style which is based on physical and hands-on activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.

Emerging leaders often hold the key to unlocking the mindset that supports this approach.

Staff can often be a bit nervous to get into play mode.

To support a new initiative.

To be the first ones to put up their hand.

To expose the depth of their authentic self.

To face the risk of making a mistake and looking like a fool.

Perfectionistic cultures don’t do anyone any favours.

Staff can be cynical about the changes being skin deep.

Nonetheless, they can’t help recognising the new energy.

The visual cues representing change.

A new commitment.

Emerging leaders are perfectly positioned to exploit this nervousness and lead from the front.

To be the first ones into the fray.

The bravest souls.

The most likely to lead tactile learning exercises.

The most authentic personality sets. Ambitious but less ego.

Culture is the result of deliberate and carefully crafted initiatives.

Consistent behaviours.

The ones your leaders reinforce are the ones that get perpetuated.

What leverage do emerging leaders have?

In organisations that aspire to great culture emerging leaders have massive leverage!

I have 3 major tips:

  1. Help drive the introduction of new totems around the office that represent key aspects of the culture.
  2. Promote new traditions in the workplace and different ways to communicate with staff in more collaborative and vulnerable ways.
  3. Strongly champion tactile learning initiatives. Make sure it is hands-on and physical in nature.

See opportunities for cultural growth in your business? David Taubman is a highly recommended leadership coach. His proven methods will teach you how to drive culture change from within your organisation. Contact him today for more information.