Yesterday, a young professional, new to the function of Human Resources, asked: “is congruence important in business?“
At first, I was a bit taken aback. We were discussing leadership. In my humble opinion, there is no effective leadership without congruence. I assumed everyone would understand how important congruence was.
I was wrong.
A smile lit up my face when I reminded myself that I should not assume. You know what that means right?
For me, congruence is one of those hidden skills that have the power to transform your life and your business. It is unstated, underrated and unpretentious.
Let me help you to understand why I value it so much.
Why Is Congruence Important In Business?
Congruence is important in business because it helps to align employees’ behaviours with the company’s vision, mission, purpose, goals and objectives. It is also a critical core competence for building effective leadership. If leaders are not in tune with the organisation engagement is lowered, motivation wavers and eventually, dissatisfaction may lead to behaviours such as Quiet Quitting.
Perhaps, a good starting point is to ask yourself what kind of legacy you want to create and leave behind. Congruence in business is about building a legacy of authenticity.
When you are authentic, you are true to yourself and to your values regardless of the external forces that are trying to pull you in other directions. Your behavioural alignment flows into the organisation and builds credibility, respect and trust, internally and externally.
Let’s take a closer look at the impact of congruence in business and what it means.
What Congruence Means
Have you ever noticed that many people say one thing and do another? That is incongruent behaviour.
Many of us used incongruent behaviour as children to hide our true intent and actions from our parents. Maybe, you still behave incongruently in some situations.
The world is full of people saying that they are trying their best, when in fact they’re not.
Organisations are full of staff, managers and leaders who live by the philosophy, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” I have always struggled with that.
One of the loudest forms of incongruent behaviour is inaction. I get distraught when someone tells me that they will do something, leading me along thinking that they are doing it or will, only to find out that they never even got started.
What is even worse is that they had no intention of doing it in the first place!
When you are behaving congruently, what you think is the same as what you feel, what you say and what you do. This makes you trustworthy and trust is the single most meaningful initiative to improve Employee Engagement.
ADDITIONAL READING >>>> What Is The Single Most Meaningful Initiative To Improve Employee Engagement?
Congruence Makes You A Better Person
I am no Saint.
We have all been incongruent, at different times and for various reasons. Some people however live permanently in a state of incongruency.
Others, especially those who are motivated to become better people, better managers, better professionals and better leaders, eventually grow out of the tendency to be incongruent.
Those are people who know that congruence is part of the journey toward becoming a better, more mature human being. And, becoming a better person equals becoming a more effective leader in business and for business.
What I enjoy about being congruent is that there is no second-guessing or pretence. Everything that you do is transparent and can stand up to scrutiny.
I admire and respect people like that.
Whilst you may respect the “office” of someone who is incongruent, it is much easier to live and work with someone who you respect, both personally and professionally.
ADDITIONAL READING >>>> Why Does Everyone Want To Become A Good Leader But No One Wants To Become A Good Person?
Congruence Shapes Your Culture
Incongruence creates a culture of hypocrisy that threatens the essence and heart of your business. It shows employees and customers that honesty, transparency, values and ethics do not really matter.
It sets the precedent and framework for employees to take shortcuts and cheat. The feeling that they can do “whatever it takes” so long as they do not get caught eventually pervades the environment.
These behaviours eat away at the foundation of your culture. Even though you may not verbalise it, do you enjoy working for a Boss who gives lip service to genuine leadership and effective management and does not follow up with meaningful action?
No one does.
A robust, sustainable culture is built by leaders who inspire, motivate and accelerate growth. Leaders who act with congruency and authenticity.
Leaders who practice what they preach by being living examples and great Role Models.
Congruence Creates Magnetic Energy
You cannot be a leader of others if you have no followers. Even Hitler knew that.
Leadership relies on the power and strength of influence. Influence is a magnetic energy source. It can change the mood of a room and yield admirable respect from those around you.
One of the most effective ways to become influential and create a magnetic presence is to be congruent. It provides hope and motivates others to want to be “be like you“.
In this way, you can effect and enable change just by being who you are.
Leaders in business in today’s rapidly changing world cannot only focus on profit. They must also focus on themselves.
They must continue challenging themselves to do what they say, practice what they preach, and live with congruence.
That’s what great leaders do. It is how they distinguish themselves from everyone else and how they shape the future.
Closing Thoughts . . .
You cannot discuss congruence without mentioning Carl Rogers. He believed that if someone wanted to achieve self-actualisation they first had to become congruent.
This means that their “ideal self“, (who they would like to be), is in congruence with their actual behaviour, (their self-image). With this alignment, it becomes easier to understand why congruence is important in business.
Think about it in the context of your business goals and objectives.
- Do employees know what they are and is their performance demonstrating that they have the right skills, resources and knowledge to achieve them?
- Are the management and leadership teams great role models for staff?
- Can the employees see what behaviours and achievements will be rewarded and supported?
- Is the Vision Statement well communicated and used as a compass to determine the direction of the business?
- Is conflict minimal?
- Are views shared openly and honestly even if they differ from the majority?
These are all measures of the level of congruence ion your business.
If you are able to capture them, you will be better able to create and build a legacy of authenticity.
SUGGESTED READING >>>> Does Leadership determine Culture Or Does Culture Determine Leadership?
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About The Author
Cassandra is a Management Consultant, Internationally qualified Facilitator, Coach, Strategist and Behaviour Change Agent. She enjoys travelling, exploring cultures and learning about historical and social networks and dynamics.
Her driving force is the education and development of her tween daughter. The roots of her inspiration to diversify her niche markets and the motivation to expand and scale her business investments rest firmly in this relationship.
This is the reason for creating her legacy.