While he was CEO of Direct Line Group, Paul Geddes CMgr CCMI oversaw a wide-ranging cultural survey. The business was not as collaborative as he would have liked: everyone was working in “fiefdoms”, as Paul describes it, rarely straying from those cliques. Much to his surprise, the cause of this issue was him.
“As the CEO, the shadow I cast [was great]. I had two members of my team who were relatively combative and not team [players], and the organisation saw me indulging that or allowing it to happen – not encouraging it, but not tackling it either. You may not think you cast a cultural shadow, but it's amazing that you do.”
This story demonstrates just how great a reach leaders and managers can have, even if it’s unintended. A manager’s traits and behaviours can have knock-on effects throughout the organisation, right down the hierarchy.
So, we may be familiar with the idea that command and control management will no longer cut it in the modern workplace – after all, 21st-century management requires far more subtlety and understanding if it is to have a positive impact on an organisation’s culture – but how do you go about setting the right tone?
In our Leading Lights interviews celebrating CMI’s 75th anniversary, some of the world’s top leaders have been sharing their insights into the traits that managers and leaders need in 2022. Here are some of their top takeaways.
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At CMI, we’re hugely privileged to have contributed to many people’s management and leadership journeys. Take a look back at some of the people we’ve interviewed for some top tips and exclusive insight.
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