Culture of Excellence

By Chris Ihrig

If you’re a leader – of a team, a company, a family – a big part of your job is fostering a culture of excellence. As an employee, you want to be a part of something extraordinary. As a manager, a leader, you want employees who are engaged in something meaningful, regardless of your industry. But how?

Here are five commitments every leader needs to make if you want to create and nurture a culture of excellence among those you lead.

Give up on your small ambitions.

Lead with vigor, infectious enthusiasm, and focused intensity. Don’t be comfortable being the boss and raising up a team of followers. Cultivate a team of leaders and be willing to give credit generously along the way. Don’t be afraid of building up a team of individuals who will surpass you. A generous leader is fun to work for and allows for greater creativity and innovation.

Don’t stand still . . . do something.

Great leaders know that to lead well you need to be growing, personally and as a team. A lack of vision leads to stagnation. A leader helps prioritize and make sure her team is all moving in the same direction. And a leader is always moving somewhere. What book are you reading and talking about? What blog does your team need to see today?

Control your attitude.

Good leaders score high on Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), and Adversity Quotient (AQ). They are smart; they are self-aware, self-regulating and empathetic; and, they are resilient and deal with problems quickly and effectively. A long-time leader once told me: “When you become a manager, you’ve had your last bad day at the office.”

Don’t be average.

Don’t ever be okay with being just okay. Employees long to follow a leader who strives for excellence, both personally and professionally. Make big goals that stretch you as a leader and stretch your team to grow. [reference/link to post #4?] Accomplish big goals and be quick to defer the credit to your team. That praise will help keep them engaged during your journey to accomplish the next big thing!

Make mistakes a part of your recipe.

All fears boil down to two fears: 1) the fear of losing something; or, 2) the fear of not getting something. To be a great leader, you need to recognize these fears in yourself and your team. You need to lead yourself and your team in a way so as to not be ruled by fear. Many time, mistakes lead to breakthroughs. Celebrate mistakes as learning opportunities, not opportunities to be petty and wield your power. Author Ryan Holiday says in his book The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph: “To do great things, we need to be able to endure tragedy and setbacks. We’ve got to love what we do and all that it entails, good and bad. We have to learn to find joy in every single thing that happens.”

Make these five commitments as a leader and watch your team thrive.