How to Reprogram Your Authoritarian Business Culture

Many organizational, political, and even family social structures are designed to stroke the egos of those ‘in power.’

As a kid, I heard things like, "I put this roof over your head," and "Don't you ever ask me 'Why?' Ask, ‘How high?’" At school, I was told to sit down, shut up, and be still. Too many of my coaches would call team members demeaning names and treat us like a commodity on the field. The authoritarian philosophy continues to this day with ‘bosses’ ordering around their ‘subordinates.’ Our cultural programming is powerful! Submit and defer to those in power, or else!

But what if we viewed our companies as belonging to all of our employees? Could we as leaders begin to see our employees as teammates we serve alongside? Wow! Now THAT would be revolutionary!

Take the performance review process. Those in leadership positions provide feedback to ‘subordinates,’ but rarely the other way around. Even at home, few parents consistently ask their children for feedback...and thank them for their candid comments. Do you? How many teachers elicit feedback from students as a part of their formal review process? For that matter, how many principals ask their teachers how they (the principal) are doing at their job? And we know that in business offices, it’s the same story. Just more variations on the same old theme.

As pervasive as this authoritarian culture is, it’s amazingly unhealthy. It doesn’t bring out the best in us or those we lead and serve. A revolution is needed, starting with us as leaders.

As my friend and business partner, Flip Flippen, said, “A leader is someone who sets aside their personal agenda for a far greater agenda of serving others.” Leaders can determine to join a revolution by showing incredible respect for those with the least power, beginning in our own homes and businesses.

If serving those you lead sounds backward to you - and yet, you’re intrigued - you may be ready for our Team Intensive™. You’ll learn how to align your leadership behaviors with your organizational strategies and how to optimize you and your team’s behavior while skillfully navigating business challenges to deliver top performance.

To find out more about Team Intensive, contact us at 1-800-316-4311. We’d love to learn more about your needs.

BusinessLee Bason