The great resignation is teaching us that toxic workplaces will no longer be tolerated. As companies struggle to manage and retain talent, a greater microscope is needed towards creating healthier and more meaningful workplace cultures while ensuring behaviors are aligned to more wholesome ways of working.
Dr. George Simon, a world-renowned psychologist with expertise in personality and character development, rightfully claims that “behavior doesn’t change until hearts change.” These are wise and important words for companies that must now focus less on creating corporate cultural initiatives and more on role modeling and demonstrating leadership behaviors that are authentic, meaningful, and reaching the hearts of people.
After speaking to Dr Simon, we discovered many simple but important lessons for leaders looking to rid their organization of toxicity, and create a culture that is meaningful and heart-connected. Here are 3 ways that leaders can learn to transform their cultures:
Create a purpose that connects to the heart of the organization
Dr. Simon states in his first commandment, “We are not the center of the universe. Everything is connected and we are all part of something much bigger than you can possibly imagine, so be mindful of how you, your yearnings, and aspirations and most especially, your behavior, impact everyone and everything else that exists.” For far too long, we have seen major corporations and their executives make their personal desires, aspirations and yearnings central to the ways of working within the company. We have reached a point where this is no longer being tolerated, and organizations must find genuine and authentic ways to create a purpose that is meaningful. When creating a company purpose, it needs to be less of a head exercise, and more of meaningful heart exercise, and most importantly, it needs to connect to the heart of the company.
Build “loving” mindsets and behaviors
Dr. Simon believes that there is a dynamic relationship between culture and character and with impaired character populations eroding norms and traditions designed to foster character. This has resulted in what he refers to as “sick” cultures, which consequently produce more character disturbing behaviors. He also makes it clear that “love” is an action word, so it is with hearts and loving behavior that we can fix toxic culture. If leaders can exhibit mindful, loving behavior – even in small amounts – this can gradually change a heart and inspire and reinforce all positive behaviors. It’s a positive and energizing cycle and the perfect antidote to the negative culture character vicious cycle that’s been churning for so long in organizations everywhere.
Leading from an open and humbled heart
There is a a Sioux Indian saying that says, “The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.” All too often, people in positions of leadership hide behind their expertise and strong opinions, often, failing to reveal themselves and the values they stand for. According to Dr Simon, leading from the heart is easier said than done. So many hearts today are hardened, jaded and full of unresolved emotions. It takes an awakened leader to truly lead from the heart humbly, thoroughly explored and therefore intimately connected and dedicated to a higher and noble purpose. If organizations are to be truly authentic and connected, leaders must be willing to embark on the long and sometimes painful journey of not always leading from their heads, but being courageous enough to lead from their open and humbled hearts.
If your company is serious about creating a thriving culture, free from negativity and toxicity, then there needs to be an invitation for leaders to genuinely express their truth, lead from their hearts and learn to build loving behaviors and mindsets that will create a generative and energizing force within the organization towards greater meaning and impact.
Ana Reed is the CEO and Founder of Newmanity, a leadership consultancy focused on building human centered companies. Together with New York City-based production company Carousso Enterprises, LLC., which is owned and operated by award-winning journalist Neil A. Carousso, Ana is engaged in creating content around leadership, human performance and CEO best practice. To receive insider access to Newmanity’s exclusive content, email [email protected].