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Culture Shift: Three non-negotiable mindsets and skills for leaders

By Galen Emanuele

January 1, 2023

Galen Emanuele Culture DropIf you are a leader, this is a checklist for you:

Leaders are there to support their people. As a leader, you are in service to your employees, not the other way around. You are there to make them look good, to lift them up, to make sure they have what they need to thrive, to support them and to help them grow. They are not there in service of you.

This has to be your attitude. If you want to look great as a leader, make your team look great.

It’s up to leaders to do the hard stuff. Leaders, your role grants you the unique position to hold the team accountable in a way that no one else can. It’s up to you to provide feedback, coach people effectively, and hold people accountable to a high level of performance, behaviors and good attitudes.

It also falls to you to make the tough call of when to remove bad apples and know when someone is not a good fit for the team. If someone is souring your team’s dynamic, only you can change that. Other members of the team cannot hold their colleagues accountable in the same way or remove them from the organization, only you can.

As I have said before, you lose your best employees when you keep and allow the worst ones. You have to have the courage and skills to have difficult conversations and address this as a leader.

Leaders must be vulnerable. Not just vulnerable, but also open to feedback. Leaders must have a growth mindset.

You have to show up as a leader from a space of “I do not know everything in the world and my opinion is not more important than everyone else’s.”

Leaders must be open to feedback and understand that they have blind spots and areas of opportunity for them to improve. They can’t just be receptive to feedback; they must proactively seek it out and want to hear it.

To be a great leader, it’s imperative to always be in fierce pursuit of being a better leader, which includes leveling up and investing in your own skills and being open to other people’s perspectives and feedback.

Having an air of self-importance and that you know everything is a weak sauce attitude, and it will absolutely damage your reputation and relationship with your team. You’re not perfect, so be a learner, not a knower.

When people like their leader, they try harder and care more. People who like their leaders like their jobs more and stay longer. Retention, performance, morale and so many other facets of team dynamics are directly tied to the way you show up as a leader. It is so important for you to have these critical mindsets and skills and continue to improve on them throughout your career.

Galen Emanuele is a speaker and trainer on business leadership and team culture based out of Portland, Ore. Every week, Emanuele produces a video and blog post highlighting vital conversations, building skill sets and showing teams how to drive exceptional culture and leadership. To see more, visit