If you’ve seen any of our recent presentations on creating a great company culture, then you have seen the Herbig – Wiederwohl Leadership Model. Whenever this slide goes up, people immediately pull out their phones to take a picture. After a recent presentation someone from the audience came up and asked if this was online. Well, now it is!

This slide is at the end of the presentation and is designed to pull several points together. So, if you’ve seen the presentation or read the book Frequency Matters®: Be a Contributor, Not An Employee! then the information will be familiar.

Leaders in any organization have a lot on their plates. For instance, they must manage payroll, staffing, finance, customer complaints, broken equipment, attend six one-hour meetings daily, annual performance appraisals, AND they are supposed to accomplish or contribute to the company goals too.

However, if leaders truly want the benefits of an amazing team, department, or division, then they must also create a space where employees feel comfortable being themselves and are motivated to do their best work. So how do you create an environment where people feel comfortable and are motivated? Well, here are the core principles from the model.

The Lessons
First you as a leader start by being honest, transparent and forthright. Simply put, if you are trying to create a space where your team can be authentic, then you must model that same behavior. And you model that behavior by knowing who you are and authentically demonstrating that every day.

Next you focus on your behaviors and be sure to lead with empathy and humor. Empathy is needed because things aren’t always going to go right, and when they don’t it helps to see things from the other person’s perspective. Humor is often the tool that a leader can use to break the tension of a tough situation.

Once you have your core values and behaviors then a leader’s job is to mentor and nurture her team. Recognizing that growth of an employee’s ability is the proverbial “rising tide that raises all ships.” Through mentoring and nurturing, the whole team benefits, which leads to outstanding team performance and also a great environment. But it doesn’t stop there…

A leader’s objective is to create meaning and purpose. In many organizations, the purpose of the work is clear, but in some organizations or some roles it may be less obvious. In all cases, the leader’s job is to connect the work that is being done to a greater purpose. We had a nursing home administrator who said that every day her team was taking care of someone’s grandma or grandpa and that was a special trust. In that same meeting, the CFO stood up and said, “…and when my team pays the cable bill, we ensure that grandma has a good morning because she can watch her favorite TV show.” Every job is important, and a good leader helps make that connection.

Finally, the guiding philosophy needs to be to love your employees like they are your family. The person who originally shared this line with me is Charles Price and he is talked about in the book. He is a very tall, very polished, very knowledgeable, and very demanding figure. He is also one of the humblest people you will ever meet. His company experienced record growth for over a decade before going public. He attributes that growth to the hard work of his employees and that is reciprocated in his genuine care for each one of them.

In Closing – if you love your employees like they are family, and you create meaning and purpose in their jobs then you can follow that up with mentoring and nurturing. Knowing that things won’t always go as planned, be sure to use humor and empathy liberally. And, above all else, live every day being honest, transparent and forthright. This recipe won’t fix all problems, but it goes a long way toward creating an amazing culture.

IQS Research offers a variety of services and resources to help your organization achieve greatness. From speakers for your events to research for your organization, we can help create your roadmap and walk that path with you. Contact us today to learn how we can partner together.

To purchase your copy of Frequency Matters®: Be a Contributor, Not an Employee! co-authored by Kristin Mackey and Shawn Herbig, please go to Amazon.com.