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Create a “Work With” Rather than a “Work For” Culture

Have you ever worked for a boss? You know what I mean:

The boss was always right…even when he or she was wrong.

When individual employees or the whole work group came up with a great idea that worked, the boss took credit.

You were told just to do the work assigned and not think of ways to improve the work.

The boxes on the organizational chart were unchangeable and the more boxes under a boss, the more important the boss.

I could go on but just thinking about such “bosses” and environments is depressing.

Now, imagine an organizational chart with circles instead of boxes. These circles have a manager/leader at the center, surrounded by the team. The circles overlap where the work done by any group intersects with that done by other groups. Collaboration comes naturally because the goal is everyone’s success in order for the organization to succeed. Now boxes lined up like steps in a ladder to be climbed, the circles resemble links in a chain.

Here are a few ways to create a “work with” culture:

Ask people rather than tell them. For example, ask what processes can be improved rather than tell employees to “just fix it!” or tell them each minute task to do to improve a process.

Roll up your sleeves and work beside employees to model cooperation and collaboration. For example, when work is behind schedule or a due date is looming and an additional person could make the difference, be that person.

Forget the corporate distinctives, such as large corner offices with windows. Focus on making the space fit the need.

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