Leaders in a company or organization wear many hats. Their day-to-day job is much more than a typical job description would imply. Yes, they are probably responsible for sending reports and holding certain meetings. But they also hold a much bigger responsibility… Leaders have a direct effect on the culture of their workplace.
Let’s start with an example. If a company leader is regularly late for work and has a tendency to talk down on the company as a whole, the people who report to this leader will pick up on that negativity. They may even think, “If my manager doesn’t care about what our company is doing, why should I?”
Now, we can shift the focus to a more positive scenario. If a company leader is productive, encouraging, constructive and dedicated to their work, that behavior has the potential to motivate others. A leader’s influence can be especially strong if they are working with newer employees who are still adapting to the company’s overall culture.
It’s important to let employees know what you value, but demonstrating value through action and leading by example is the best way to create a culture around ethics and positivity.
Why Culture Matters
Employees don’t stay in a job solely because of perks like a coffee bar or new laptops. They stay because they enjoy coming to work and feel empowered to do their job.
The culture of a company has always been important, but there has been more buzz around the word “culture” in the past 20 years or so. There is reason to believe that it’s not a passing phase. Younger generations place a higher value on culture than those who came before them.
As years go on, developing a strong culture will be increasingly important for attracting talent, retaining employees and forming a brand identity. Are the company’s values based on innovation? Customer service? Team building?
Leadership in a Negative Culture
There is no doubt that a leader can impact workplace culture, but the roles can also be flipped. A culture can affect a leader as much as they can affect the culture. If a leader with the best intentions is consistently undermined, it can be a challenge to create that positive environment for their employees. This is most often seen when a manager is brought in from an outside organization and the employees are holding onto a negative culture that previously existed.
Instead of just giving in to the negativity, leaders have a choice. They can use creativity and a vision to inspire their employees. A boss will just tell people what to do, but great leaders have a way of making people want to change for the better. When employees know where an organization is heading, they will be more willing to invest in the small steps that lead to the end goal.
Holding a leadership position in a company or organization is no small task, but creating a strong culture can lead to an overall more cohesive and positive environment.