Leading People with People in Mind

PERKS Editorial Team

PERKS Editorial Team


April 13, 2022

The Building Culture Podcast - Episode 5.1

Eileen Lee, "Leading People with People in Mind"

How can managers best support their people? What are some practical ways to lead with accountability? Eileen and Evelyn introduce this season’s theme on Leadership & Administration, one of the 5 measures of company culture.


You can download the episode here.
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Show notes:

  • Leadership & Administration is one of our 5 measures of company culture from our whitepaper.
    • Great culture begins with establishing your mission statement and values
      • Leaders' to live that out and set the pace for culture
  • Why does our measure include administration? Admins often have daily interactions with others on the team and answer any questions you may have.
    • e.g. office managers, controllers, receptionists, HR administrator/chief of staff, department managers
    • Administrators must be in agreement with leadership
    • Bridge between executives and other team members
  • Ideals of Leadership & Admin
    • Mission and values
      • Mission: What org is trying to accomplish on large scale, e.g. products
      • Values: Characteristics you focus on to achieve mission 
        • PERKS values: ROCKSTAR = Resilience, out-of-box thinking, communication, kindness, savvy, transparency, adaptability, rapport
          • Leaders and team members must live out these values
    • The mission and values create a sense of purpose. Our purpose is our why.
      • What does the mission and values look like in the day-to-day? 
        • Leading by example
        • e.g. if we value kindness, speaking and treating people respectfully
        • e.g. transparency - provide context for every situation so everyone is aligned.
      • Result: everyone understands their responsibility and works productively.
  • Ideal 2: Give everyone respect and autonomy to do their best work
    • Remember, all 5 measures of company culture work together. 
    • Everyone works differently, giving people the freedom to determine when and where they work best. It comes down to trust.
      • Transition from in-office to hybrid/remote work environments
      • Focusing on the results instead of hours worked is going to be ultimate test to see how autonomous you will be.
  • Ideal 3: Frequent and meaningful recognition and appreciation
    • Gift giving is a supplement to feedback. It must be genuine!
      • We can forget about feedback - easy to give a gift card, not as easy to give feedback
      • Gift-giving serves a purpose in recognizing what the team member did well. 
      • Eileen recognizes employees on the spot.
        • Consider dedicating a Slack channel and encourage team members to recognize one another
    • Communication measure working with Leadership & Admin
      • It’s not just about giving a quarterly gift card. It's more helpful if my manager tells me what I’m doing right, wrong, what to improve upon so that I can excel in my career path.
      • Give the gift card, but also give feedback. 
  • What happens when leadership/admin aren’t living these 3 ideals?
    • Disconnect - confusion about the shared purpose
    • Actions speak louder than words.
      • i.e. kindness - if the HR person speaks to everyone like I don't have time for them or am disrespectful, what’s going to happen if I do it enough times?
      • The employee will not take the organization's values seriously.
      • Accountability isn’t a priority
      • Disconnect and disengagement
      • If they see values ignored too much, eventually they may leave. 
        • Middleman managers - new managers need training and support (soft skills) so they can reflect those attributes to their team
      • Key takeaway: Be accountable for your actions!
  • How do you collect feedback and keep everyone happy?
    • Clearly define your mission and values. Make sure it’s documented and accessible (e.g. PERKS uses Notion)
    • Feedback: try stay interviews to identify areas of improvement (keep it casual)
    • Town hall or roundtable. What’s said in the room stays there.
    • Pulse surveys. Different from an annual engagement survey; informal, short, anonymous, helps leaders/admins check in with how the team is doing.
      • Quick way to get employee feedback on 1-2 questions you might have.
  • What if my organization’s culture is not where I want to be? Is it ever too late to start practicing accountability?
    • There is no such thing as the perfect culture!
      • Always room for improvement
      • Many components that affect the company culture, and it may change with incoming hires
      • Never too late to be accountable - just because you were something in the past doesn't mean you can't change
    • PERKS began as a different concept and adjusted its mission and values. Don't be afraid of change if it's needed.