How Leaders Shape Culture
A company’s culture can be difficult to define as it is so intangible and immeasurable. In fact, some might say that culture is best explained by the feeling you get when you walk around the office, or worksite that best represents culture. It is this feeling which represents the totality of values, assumptions, and accepted norms and that is what affects the behaviours of individuals. For such behaviours to become engrained throughout the organisation, executive leaders must be the primary examples and set the standard to which others can follow.
Driving change leadership takes more than simply implementing new processes. Individuals must be inspired to change their mindsets, behaviours, and beliefs. Leaders must have within themselves a clear vision for what they want the culture of their company to look like and then ensure that they have the right team in place to actualise it. Engaging in leadership training for culture change can make a great impact on integrating new or re-defined ideas from the outset. Onboarding and leadership development programs offer organisations the opportunity to instill the importance of their core values in their employees and to build a culture that reflects those beliefs.
When shaping company culture it is important to develop a strong understanding of why you are doing so. Why is it important to the company? And why is it important to your employees? To do this, you may consider engaging in executive leadership training to develop a deeper understanding of your personal values in relation to what you hope to accomplish as a leader. The role of an executive coach is often one of support and discovery. By asking the right questions they are able to guide their client to reaching the answers for themselves. This can be an effective tool for leaders building towards a shift in culture.
“Why is is important to the company? And why is it important to your employees?”
It is not enough for leaders to decide on a new approach and expect that their employees will immediately adapt to these changes. Communication and accountability are both paramount to the success of leading culture change. Information must be clearly and regularly communicated across all levels of the organisation, and leaders must be willing to be held accountable for following through themselves. Through leadership and management training courses, employees throughout the organization can be kept informed of new processes and given the means to further their knowledge to members of their team.
A single leadership training course is not enough to shape an entire culture on its own. It must become a regular part of a company’s agenda in board meetings as well as in everyday conversations between team members. A culture can be built with relative ease, sustaining it, and making it second nature to individuals is a challenge within itself. By discussing change and why it is happening, creates a company-wide understanding of what is most important. What is taught in a leadership training program becomes contextualised in the realities of everyday practices. Different levels of leaders get different take always from leadership development programs, and like most professional development, as a minimum, it serves as a reminder of the things we should be doing, but have not set as a priority to do so. These little things all add up to make a big difference when it comes to driving a positive workplace culture and creating a high trust organisation.
Culture is often first shaped by leaders wishing to take their organisation in a new direction. However, it is most successful when those leaders are able to have a positive influence on their teams to inspire a shift in mindset that drives behaviour. In an era where diversity, inclusion and belonging are becoming even more important, good leadership and positive workplace cultures is becoming a differentiating factor for businesses of all sizes and industries.
What is most important for you, as a leader, to shaping culture?
About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and high trust organisation.