Employees shape any organization’s direction, but the leadership has the largest and most direct influence and impact on company culture, which concerns workplace productivity, employee engagement, and the company’s success.
Highly successful leaders positively impact the confidence of their staff. Strong leadership creates a stable foundation of the culture that empowers employees to not only achieve the company’s mission but helps them appreciate their contribution to furthering those business goals.
Intentional and Strategic Leadership Style
As the leader of the company, you are their role model. Employees watch your every move: how you speak to them, how you handle tough circumstances, how you motivate others, and what you believe in. Your purpose goes beyond getting direct reports to work together; you must also identify with the company’s cause.
Employees look to leaders who believe and live the company’s vision and mission. They need to see you spread the values of the organization. When you are intentional and strategic with your leadership style, you promote a culture that produces enthusiastic employees.
The Desire for Continuous Learning
All employees have something to offer to the knowledge table — whether they are entry-level or senior-level staff members. Leaders, on the other hand, recognize the engine of the company (aka their employees). But good leaders do not stop with the basic personal knowledge; they also demonstrate and express interest in their employee’s career growth.
Instead of sticking to textbook learning, make the switch to experiential learning, which not only hones employees but also boosts retention scores by 90 percent. This type of learning embodies the concept that mistakes offer more opportunities for learning, which is a must in developing a stronger work culture.
Embodiment of Change
“Be the change you want to see” is a powerful motto for effective leaders. As a leader, you are responsible for demonstrating the company’s beliefs, as well as reinforcing behaviours that reflect these values.
You can’t delegate the creation of culture to your employees’ experiences. If you want them to reflect particular values, demonstrate these values in your work. Much like Seah Moon Ming of SMRT, be the embodiment of change.
Culture as a part of the Decision and Operating Processes
To create a customer-focused culture, the company’s behaviour should reflect a customer-first mindset, which should be practiced first by the leaders. Do you visit personally talk with customers to better understand their concerns? Do you spend time in meetings discussing how to address customer issues? The way you operate sends a message about your priorities to the rest of your employees.
Another way to strengthen a customer-focused culture is to own up to mistakes. Take for example the actions of SMRT chairman during a press conference after a tunnel flooding disruption. Apologizing with a bow, the rail operator leader demonstrated commitment to honesty and accountability, offering the riding public confidence in the train’s operations.
Culture should also be ingrained in how the company makes decisions. Consider how your employees will feel about a certain decision.
For example, trimming the budget may seem like a smart money-saving option for the business. The negative impact on company culture, however, could cost more due to high turnovers and additional costs for recruitment and training.
As a leader, the choices you make play a critical role in the development of company culture. How you lead causes a ripple effect on employee environment, engagement and more. So be the leader you want your employees to be; build a culture of positivity and growth.
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