The connection between work culture and leadership — Robyn L. Garrett | Beamably

Robyn L. Garrett joins The Small Business Show to discuss the common leadership mistakes companies make that are harming their work culture

Positive work culture and good leadership go hand-in-hand, each one being a fundamental component of the employee experience. Unfortunately, many businesses prioritize the wrong elements, putting their efficiency and productivity at risk.

On this episode of The Small Business Show, host Shyann Malone is joined by Robyn L. Garrett, author of “Happy @ Work: How to Create a Happy, Engaging Workplace for Today’s (and Tomorrow’s) Workforce” and CEO of Beamably, a company helping leaders improve their management skills. Garrett has been featured on NPR, The Hill, and The Wall Street Journal as a leadership expert and work culture advocate. Now, she discusses the key mistakes businesses make when engaging with employees and what they can do to make their teams feel welcome.

Key Takeaways

1. Garrett’s desire to become a leader was driven by her belief that she could accomplish great things for the corporations that hired her. However, she explains that her enthusiasm came with inadequate experience, resulting in some early mistakes.

2. This process resulted in an important realization for Garrett. She came to understand that leadership success hinges on whether or not employees feel that their bosses, managers, or supervisors are invested in their teams.

3. Supporting the team with an empathetic leadership style can improve the employee-management relationship and boost productivity. However, the effort has to be sincere. Garrett notes that her book, “Happy @ Work,” points out the weaknesses in modern work culture, which typically prioritizes appearances over experiences. Superficial investments, such as purchasing bean bags and pool tables, will do little to motivate and retain staff unless leaders actually spend time building connections with their teams.

4. Garrett cites three key needs that employees have in regard to their work culture.

  • They need to feel safe.
  • They need to feel respected.
  • They need to feel valued.

5. Garrett recommends that companies start the process of improving their work culture by focusing on basic employee necessities. The most important initial steps are to re-evaluate individual workloads to lower stress and review compensations to ensure staff members are not being underpaid for their positions. Failing to get these two fundamentals correct will erode the leadership team’s effectiveness and drive talent away.

"Culture has been a very hot topic over the last 10-15 years, and I think that's because a lot of businesses wanted to seem like they were fun...They wanted to put some dressing on top, make it look a certain way, and then they thought that everything else would just fall into place. But that did not prove to be the case." — Robyn L. Garrett