If we are to create great corporate culture, we need strong leadership empathy. Focus on others is a fundamental starting point! But we can make many mistakes. Here we debunk a few myths and share critical leadership skills.

Mistakes that can sabotage leadership effectiveness when guiding corporate culture

We may have an idea about how we think the culture should go. Our role as authority figures is to shape and guide. Right?

I lean on some insights from an awesome TED Talk with Itay Talgam. It was shared with me a few years back by my boss at the time, Dr Lesley Fitzpatrick. Talgam showcases different styles of conductors, and important leadership skills insights. Well worth the 23 minutes to watch it.

Here we discern a few leadership mistakes:

Prescriptive dictating is not a great leadership attribute

We can get really energised by our roles as leaders. We are in charge! We can shape an awesome leadership journey for others.

That’s the key point: ‘shaping it FOR others’ is the mistake. Corporate culture is a co-created experience. We want all of us to contribute, not just be told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

Don’t make them guess your leadership mindset

We may make the mistake of assuming people know what the right thing is. It’s obvious to us, so it’s obvious to them. Right?

Not so fast.

Leadership responsibilities are vast. One of the core ones is to be clear on expectations. People live up (and down) to expectations, so make them explicit.

And now some useful leadership principles for corporate culture

1. Have fun and bring joy!

Emotions are infectious! Bring some delight and enthusiasm to the work.

2. Use authority when it’s needed for effective feedback

Having boundaries and expectations are less about control and more about helping others rise to the occasion and improve their delivery. If they don’t make it, we need to let them know and discuss it with them.

3. Show love and let go: the leadership skill of leading by doing nothing

The last conductor in the video shows great reverence and love for his colleagues. It’s a celebration of hard work, of resonance, of performance – of colleagues bringing their best to the table. It’s a celebration of shared experience with the conductor, the musicians and the audience. It’s a marvellous moment of being fully present and witnessing full self expression, together. That’s leadership empathy at its best.

What mistakes are you susceptible to? What do you need to put in place to bring out the best in others? Can you see yourself getting to the point where you can let go and let them dazzle you?