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One of the biggest workplace trends to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic was a greater focus on workplace culture, specifically on the impact of leadership. Creating a space where leaders and team members alike feel comfortable and able to grow and gain new opportunities is the key to all of our recruitment and retention problems. 

Earlier this year we spoke with Arnie Malham, an award-winning CEO, founder, international speaker, entrepreneur and author about the importance of leadership growth and why it is so necessary to offer them the opportunity to make mistakes.

His book “Worth doing wrong: The quest to build a culture that rocks,” was designed to help readers smash business goals, achieve win-win relationships with clients, generate buzz in the community and cultivate a workplace that individuals and teams will love. 

With over 20 years as a successful entrepreneur, Malham has employed thousands of team members across three different companies, enabling him to implement simple, yet effective methods to create remarkable and sustainable cultures. His efforts have succeeded in featuring him in CBS and Forbes, being awarded Most Admired CEO, ranked in Nashville’s Best Places to Work and was an Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist. Having spoken to more than 10,000 executives, CEOs and entrepreneurs worldwide on culture and team member management, Malham truly is an expert on the subject.

“Growth is the key to moving minds forward, to moving processes forward, to taking checklists from antiquated to new, to move whole systems in a place where people have to be given permission to get it wrong on their way to getting it right,” said Malham. “As leaders, we don't always look at our team and say, ‘you have to grow and I'm going to provide you the opportunity to grow.’ That's the mistake we make as leaders is we grow, but we don't allow our team to grow.”

Why is Leadership Growth so Important?

“People who outgrow their leaders will often find new leaders,” Malham explained. “If you’re outgrowing your leader, then you almost have an obligation to find another leader so that you can continue your path.”

No one wants to work for an individual or organization who is living in the past, and can’t or will not move forward. With the advancement of technology and social media, change now happens at the drop of a hat and without the flexibility to adapt an organization and its team may not survive. 

Not only should organizations wishing to better their cultures focus on allowing leadership to freely innovate, learn and explore within and without the organization, they should encourage their employees to do so as well.

“One of the best things we can do is find out how our teams want to grow and help them get there,” he added. “Not by dictating how they get there, but by creating opportunities for them to get there.”

It is the opportunity to fail that is truly the difference between a good culture and a great culture. An organization with good culture is easy to find, but an organization that has truly great culture — one that allows you to try, fail and try again — is one in a million.

How Can Personal Growth Help an Organization’s Culture?

By being transparent and helpful when leadership and employees ask for help or guidance. Offering resources and reliability to your team during times of success and failure will ensure that they feel supported, valid and able to approach management comfortably at any time.

According to John Spence, executive coach, author, keynote speaker and one of the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America, having clear goals, trust, communication, accountability and recognition are key elements of a winning culture. 

“(Employees) do not want to be micromanaged, but given freedom to do their job well with the resources they need,” Spence shared in the Sidecar Academy course “Cultural Transformation with John Spence.” “They need to be treated fairly, beyond pay, but if there’s a problem or issue, they need to feel like their voice will be heard.”

In order to really ensure a great company culture, leaders need to make it a priority to not only participate, but to be a champion for their organization’s efforts to help their teams individual members grow professionally — on a personal level. Leaders need to grow with their teams, for their teams. 

It may seem tough, but with determination and a willingness to grow, organizational culture can continue to grow as a company priority through these growth opportunities. Keep in mind, as Malham said, “You don’t change culture in a day.”

Ashley Neal
Post by Ashley Neal
July 26, 2021
Ashley is a marketing and communications professional with expertise in sales conversion, copywriting, and social media.