Leadership plays a fundamental role in creating a great organizational culture. You can be a leader as far as you have authority or influence in your domain or amongst your peers and colleagues. A leader is someone who sets the tone for the company culture.
One of the core responsibilities of leadership is reinforcing the company’s values while holding employees accountable simultaneously. Your influence over others can be either positive or negative, depending on your leadership style. Furthermore, the execution of a strategy also influences how a leader builds an organization’s work culture.
According to SHRM, leaders must be deliberate in creating a company culture where the workforce can thrive.
Why is Company Culture Important?
As a leader creates a thriving work culture, it provides opportunities for engagement to the employees. Your employees will commit to meeting standards of quality and excel in their efforts. Your strategy as a leader to create a company culture will empower your employees to make smarter decisions, approach work with thoughtfulness and attention to detail.
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), establishing a healthy organizational culture gains your workers’ loyalty. For example, providing employees with a culture to maintain a better work/life balance will result in low absenteeism and motivate them to be more productive in their tasks.
Another benefit is greater retention rates as employees enjoy working for the company and have no reason to leave. This will help your company show an upward trajectory of profitability due to greater performance delivered by an experienced retained workforce.
Leadership Culture and Its Importance
A leadership culture is how as a leader, you interact with your peers, team members, and employees. The way you operate, make decisions, and communicate are all part of the leadership culture of the company.
Therefore, you must determine if your leadership culture or style is contributing to creating the company culture you desire. Here are some of the aspects you must look into to gauge how effective and helpful your leadership culture is.
- Look at the ways the leaders in the company hire people.
- How do they create productive and high-performance teams?
- How do they execute business strategies?
- How do they engage with their employees?
- Do they offer any help to build a strong and collaborative work culture?
If you are a company, you must understand your role as a leader. Efficient leadership development is not about attending training classes or hiring people who are the right fit. The most effective way to ensure a positive leadership culture is to create modern leaders.
What a Modern Leader Looks Like?
High-level good leaders care about bringing out the best in colleagues and workers through listening, mentoring, and coaching. Modern leadership is all about mentoring and coaching instead of gate-keeping and micromanaging.
This means, as a modern leader, instead of trying to do it all by yourself, advocate for your team, and empower them to perform their best. True modern leaders appreciate their employees, provide opportunities for growth and share their success. So, to become an effective leader, you must be naturally inclusive and make efforts to build connections for your teams.
4 Essentials for Modern Leadership
To adopt a modern leadership style, simply follow these 4 steps.
1. Striving to be a Role Model
Being amongst the top hierarchy as leaders, you must practice what you preach without exemptions. If a leader breaches company’s or employees’ trust, a sincere apology must follow in a timely fashion. If cases where an apology may not be enough, the company must have a culture where even a leader must face the consequences for severe neglect of conduct.
2. Observing with Patience
As a leader, you must not be quick to take action all the time. Some situations require you to sit back and soak in all that is happening around you to see a clear and bigger picture. Even subtle details about the working environment and your employees’ behavior will have a lot to tell. You may gain new insight into how your company’s culture operates and then make adequate changes.
3. Offering Open-Door Policy
You can offer a prompt answer to your employees’ and team members’ questions by providing an open communication platform or an open door policy. This helps your employees feel heard, and it is also a good way for you to reinforce the company’s values and goals.
4. Taking Feedback and Meaning Actions
Feedback not only helps employees but leaders as well. You can ask for feedback on the current strategies and working environment and take useful actions that can help in creating the company culture you desire.
5. Leadership Contribution in Creating the Company Culture
A positive leadership contribution can help create a solid foundation for an organization. There are multiple ways your company’s leadership can focus on work culture. Let us have the most important ones.
6. Offering Opportunities
Your employees spend a large portion of their lives working for the company and create a strong personal and professional bond with their tasks and job responsibilities. However, a leader is responsible for creating a company culture that can offer their employees a sense of motivation and opportunity to be the best at what they do.
7. Art of Appreciation
According to NBC News, 79% of employees quit due to lack of appreciation, making it the number one reason why employees leave a company. Therefore, don’t let your top talent jump ships; invest in them instead by celebrating their achievements and career milestones.
Personal recognition for their hard work and dedication will make your employees feel valued by their leaders, peers, family, and friends.
8. Ensuring Employees’ Wellbeing
Well-being is not just about eating healthy or leading a physically fit life. An employee’s wellbeing also entails social and emotional wellness through a strong support system within the company. So, leaders must create a healthy community-like work culture to make everyone feel involved, engaged, and supported.
9. Empowering Your Workforce
Creating a company culture that empowers autonomy paves the way for greater innovations and problem-solving breakthroughs. You must entrust your employees to contribute and own the accountability for their efforts. This will help establish a healthy competitive work culture where employees strive to outperform each other and surpass their leaders’ expectations.
10. Failure Ain’t Fatal Mindset
As a leader, you must establish a work culture where employees do not fear failure because of the consequences that follow. Let them know that sometimes failure is inevitable and that will not jeopardize their careers or jobs unless, of course, an offense or error was intentional.
Recognize their efforts for taking a chance and do not punish them for trying. This will encourage your workforce to learn from their mistakes, improve and perform better next time.
11. Recognition Matters
Good leaders always recognize their employees’ experience and skills as it can motivate them to strive for success. Open recognition of employees’ efforts and performance brings in a work culture that offers a sense of security and reciprocation from employees in the form of loyalty.
There are numerous ways how you can encourage and establish a thriving work culture through recognition. Here are some events that can help you in this endeavor.
- Offering daily rewards
- Celebrating team-building triumphs
- Rewarding on big victories
- Introducing safety improvements to ensure employees wellbeing
- Rewarding service milestones
- Workplace anniversaries
- Company-wide celebrations/annual day
- Health achievements
12. How to Reward Your Employees
Here are some of the most tangible ways you can recognize employees’ hard work and communicate your appreciation and value as a leader.
- Awarding plagues or certificates
- Awarding restaurants, stores, and other gift vouchers/cards
- Rewarding them with electronics/gadgets
- Presenting jewelry and/or watches
- Presenting bouquets
- Giving houseware items
- Presenting an artwork or sculpture
- Giving away event or concert tickets
These are just ideas; as a leader, you can choose to award employees the way you see fit. You can even ask the employees to choose what they would like to have within a budget as they would like that idea way better than getting something picked by someone else.
Now that you know the importance of how leadership can excel at creating a company culture, it is time to put this knowledge to good use. Ask your employees what your company’s culture is offering them currently and additions or improvements they would like to see.
Make them feel listened to and show that you genuinely want to hear how the employees view organizations’ work culture. Learn about the aspects that resonate with your employee and get rid of the ones that you are unsure of.
You can even delegate the tasks to your direct reports and peers to conduct a company-wide survey on gauging employees’ perception of work culture. However, pick the right people who can lead this exercise in the most authentic manner for adequate feedback because a lack of true feedback will prove to be more dangerous than you can imagine.
Once you receive the feedback, read the writing on the wall and take prompt actions for creating a company culture. A culture that empowers your employees through appreciation, recognition, mentoring, coaching, support, collaboration, communication, and engagement.
Everyone in the company’s hierarchy, i.e., from leaders to labor, must align with the basic principles of the work culture. In the end, you must allow the organization, employees, and the culture to thrive while you reap the benefits of being an impeccable leader.
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