Leaders have always struggled with being out of touch with people in their organization. That’s worse now. All sorts of new barriers, like the digital divide, disparities during COVID, and muted interpersonal signals, are making leaders more invisible than ever.
Derek Newberry chats with me on People at Work about how leaders can move from invisible to visible. As a cultural anthropologist, Derek sees similarities between tribes and groups of people who gather in organizations. In both cases, leaders have to work harder to bring people together to work in harmony and be productive.
But in today’s work context, where people are face to face less often, leaders must be more intentional about presence. This starts with deep listening, followed by what Derek calls strategic vulnerability, where you arrive without all the answers. Both of these require interest, curiosity, and humility.
Visibility stands to benefit everyone in our teams and organizations. Not to mention the impact present leadership will have on the tone and experience of workplace culture everywhere. If you do one thing today to up your leadership presence, listen and act via Derek’s take.
Derek Newberry is an organizational development consultant who specializes in helping leaders build great cultures and drive transformational change. He’s co-author of a new book The Culture Puzzle: Harnessing the Forces that Drive Your Organization’s Success. Adam Grant called it “a stimulating, sensible guide to understanding—and improving—the values and norms of your workplace.”