Does your culture need fixing so frontline leaders can thrive?

“When a flower doesn't bloom you fix the environment in which it grows not the flower” Alexander Den Heijer

If you are spending a lot of time, money and effort developing your frontline leaders but not seeing the results you want then maybe you’re putting your attention in the wrong area. I believe this quote could be the root cause of your problem. 

In my experience, it doesn’t matter how much natural talent a frontline leader has or how much development they’ve received. If you take them and place them in culture that is negative towards leaders then they will struggle to do well. This means you need to work on your culture first before you work on your frontline leaders.

So how do you know that your culture towards leaders is less than healthy? A few common signs I see are:

  • An “us and them” attitude with leaders seen as the enemy
  • Team members who have never met their senior leaders and/or wouldn’t recognise them or know their names
  • A culture where people try to catch out their leaders and embarrass them publicly
  • Lots of negative talk about leaders amongst team members
  • Deliberately creating problems for leaders to see how they cope

If you recognise that any of these behaviours are happening your organisation then your first step should be to work with your more senior leaders on creating better relationships with people working at the frontline. Only then it is worth the investment to develop new leaders.

Karen Schmidt from Let’s Grow! is the frontline leadership expert who helps organisations grow their frontline leaders so they perform better, which improves team productivity, giving senior leaders peace of mind. To learn about her Practical Leadership model visit To book her to speak at your next event visit

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