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Successful businesses generally have a lot of employees who are personally invested in the success of that company. But when we say “invested,” we aren’t talking about stock options; we are really talking about personal responsibility.

One recent article details the desirability of cultivating the atmosphere of a close-knit neighborhood in the office. Art Markman explains:

When you walk down the street near your home, you might pick up some trash or set a neighbor’s flowerpots upright after a storm. You do that because you think of your neighborhood as an extension of yourself. You put in effort for the greater community, of which you are an essential part. Likewise, a company cannot succeed unless employees start to think of themselves as part of something bigger than themselves.

Basically, employees are likely to invest the most in their jobs and their companies if they are part of a supportive community, even taking on things that are not their own direct responsibility. There are important management development lessons to be learned from this idea of personal responsibility.

This is an important trait, because, according to another recent article, “We all, having spent time in complex organizations, know how easy it is to pass the buck.” Indeed, too often, it is all too easy for employees – and their managers – to refuse to take personal responsibility for projects they don’t have time for, details slightly out of the scope of their job description, or even personal failures. Such an each-man-for-himself attitude can be problematic to an organization in the long term, especially as it conflicts with the idea of a neighborhood of people all invested in helping the neighborhood succeed.

In the end, successful organizations have employees who care about and are personally invested in what they do, how they spend their time, the people they work with, etc. This so-called neighborhood approach is not instantly achievable, but it is worth working towards. It will help with talent retention, employee satisfaction, and even the bottom line.

How can management development help create such an atmosphere?

1. Create a family-friendly workplace that supports employees and encourages work-life balance.

2. Encourage co-worker collaboration, and reduce co-worker competition.

3. Recognize employee achievements, large and small.

4. Periodically schedule time for management development sessions about teambuilding and the development of community.

This is not an exhaustive list of suggestions for creating a neighborhood in your office. But with a commitment to building community in the office, personal accountability, responsibility, and investment will increase, and your company will gain a competitive advantage from its workforce. What else would you add to the list?

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