How to build a fearless culture

  • A fearless culture is the result of a cumulative focus of leaders across the organisation, led and modelled by those at the top.
  • A fearless culture is based on asking questions, being clear on purpose and having courage.
  • Leaders should not be afraid to recognise they will not have all the answers, and therefore need to ask more questions.

Business man with shadow showing muscles

What is a fearless culture? When people come together; conversations are focused, lively and creative. The things that matter are uncovered and resolved. This environment promotes positive risk-taking that comes from security to try things and fail. People feel empowered in their roles and confident to speak out. This lifts the performance bar, promotes curiosity and leads to individual and team development and accountability. Fearless cultures get results.

The challenges for leaders

  • Being a leader can feel like hard work.The responsibility of having to ‘know’ everything keeps us stuck in the day to day and prevents us from being strategic. It’s tough to run engaging meetings, and we put off crucial performance conversations.
  • Staff engagement is patchy. Maybe your organisation is growing rapidly, and is experiencing risk and growing pains. Or maybe your organisation isn’t growing and the legacy of history is slowing things down; staff engagement is low and people are stuck and lacking in purpose. Problems may be simmering, and it’s hard to identify the real issues. When challenges arise, you’re fighting fires rather than building culture.
  • Leadership bench-strength is lacking.A key responsibility of leadership is developing others. While we might have the right intentions, we get busy and development conversations don’t happen. Regular feedback discussions don’t seem to have much impact.
  • The results are questionable.Performance across the organisation is inconsistent with some divisions not delivering on expectations, and there is a lack of accountability. Perhaps KPIs are being achieved, but you are concerned about the approaches being taken.
  • You see that more is possible.The organisation is performing well; there is a healthy culture and targets being met — yet you believe more is possible.

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