A Clear Observation of Organizational Culture

Recently, I had the opportunity to provide back safety and core awareness training at two locations of the same healthcare organization.


The two locations were operated by two individual administrators and directors of nursing. The administrator of the first location has led her workforce for more than a decade. She is pleasant, open, positive, and an easy-going person.  Sixteen staff attended the training. They participated, and were generally vocal and engaged, and they had a lot of fun with the back safety quiz.  Team competition and a return demonstration of core muscle awareness and strengthening ended in a vivacious finale.  A basket of candies was passed around for the "winners" numerous times and everyone ended up with lots of positive reinforcement. The room was filled with cajoling, laughter, fun, and most importantly, learning. 


The second location had a similar number of staff attendees. This administrator is also a veteran of the organization whose leadership style is more business-like. While providing the same training content and style, the second group was quiet and more difficult to draw out.


What struck me most were the vast differences in communication and attitude between the locations, despite being one organization.  Among other things, in MEMIC's four-part leadership series workshop, we learn of the value of communication as it relates to performance.


Leadership is an activity, not a person.  Leadership comes not from titles, nor even necessarily from expertise, but from the relationships between those who choose to exercise leadership and those who choose to follow. These relationships may result from trust, shared visions or goals, sometimes shared pain, or mutual gifts of significance where leader and followers help each other feel an important part of something larger than them. Leadership draws its power from issues of the heart.


What I witnessed was the personal aspect of being a positive leader. The staff of the first location was clearly ready, willing, and able to do whatever it takes for the good of a common goal. The paycheck, or a reward, or a raise was not what learning was about for this group!


What culture are you growing in your business? Are you a leader of authority or a leader who draws their power from issues of the heart?



Posted by Donna Clendenning