“Being Responsive and Responsible” – key attribute of leaders for healthy effective culture

There have been numerous articles and blog posts that describe the positive attributes and qualities of good leaders. Recently, I read the article ‘The Missing Link in Culture Success: An Interview with Dr. Robert A. Cooke’ on LinkedIn.  Details on culture, climate, leadership prescriptive behaviors, and constructive culture were very well articulated.  

Leaders need to be role models for their teams and organizations. They need to exemplify constructive behaviors, be responsive and responsible, and walk the talk so that members within their teams and organizations model those behaviors. 

To establish integrity and trust, leaders need to practice the desired behaviors before preaching to others and asking them to practice. Leaders need to understand that their shadows have a ripple effect – positive or negative – as the members tend to practice those behaviors that their leaders elicit. 

Sadly, some leaders don’t realize the kind of impact they have on their teams. I have come across leaders who expect their team to respond to their emails, chat messages, calls, and/or task completion on an ASAP basis, sometimes within a fraction of minutes. However, the same leaders fail to respond similarly to their team members.

The team has to wait patiently for their leader’s response. But, do the leaders have the same patience? If a leader doesn’t respond, an implicit assumption has to be made – ‘the leader may be busy with meetings or calls’. On the contrary, when a team member doesn’t respond or complete the task on time, the implicit assumption is that ‘the employee is becoming irresponsible and not serious about her responsibilities’. 

The team member’s responsibility and responsiveness are put into question and the lack of trust eventually erodes the professional relationship. A leader tells his team that he will address a critical item within a time frame, but the time passes by and one more week flies off.  

Can this behavior be referred to as ‘responsive and responsible behavior? Will this be acceptable when a team member mirrors the same behavior? When leaders fail to practice constructive behaviors, how can an organization have a healthy effective culture? They have to take the initiative to practice desirable workplace behavior and understand that their behaviors shape the culture of their organizations. 

They’re various ways to cultivate a constructive work environment from leadership coaching to social intelligence awareness. How can current leaders and leaders-to-be take that first step towards a constructive, healthy, and effective culture? Have you experienced the above with your leaders or heard similar stories from others? Was an effort made towards leadership behavior change? If yes, what approaches were institutionalized? Feel free to share your experiences and the good practices adopted. I hope that the discussions that stem from this post will help many of us to operate or plan towards a conducive workplace culture. 

, Published on January 21, 2021