Updated: Aug 20, 2019
By Liz Metin, Senior Associate Consultant
Every organisation has a culture – whether they’re aware of it or not. A culture often develops organically as a business grows, whilst other times it may intentionally shaped.
Leaders have the ability to contribute to the development of the culture in their organisation through their actions and behaviours. So, what can leaders do every day to impact positively on the culture within their organisation?
1. Be aware of the importance of culture
Before leaders can have an impact on culture development, they must first be aware of the importance of culture. Leaders must understand that performance is directly influenced by the culture and behavioural habits that exist within the organisation.
Often technical issues can be directly linked to issues with the company culture. For example, poor customer service or low-quality standards could be linked to a poor attitude towards communication and feedback and if employees don’t feel their feedback is valued this will impact on morale and their attitude to their work.
By making leaders and managers at every level aware that technical problems can be a direct cause of the existing culture, they are far more likely to be open to the importance of implementing real and sustainable change.
2. Make culture a constant priority
To affect culture development, consistency is key. Leaders must always have culture on the agenda. There are several ways this can be done such as:
Have the topic of values and culture on the agenda in board meetings, management meetings, presentations and more, so its importance is consistently highlighted Ensure strategic decisions and are guided by organisational values and their impact on culture are consideredEnsure values have a common meaning and employees are supported to consistently live the values by translating values into behavioural competencies so everyone know what is expected of themHire managers and team members who fit with the desired culture through their approach and behaviours
3. By exhibiting the behaviour they want to see
Leaders within an organisation can affect cultural change by modelling and exhibiting the behaviour they want the organisation to emulate. They must make sure they are setting the behavioural examples that they want to see from every member of the team and exhibit the behaviours that underpin the values they seek to live.
Leaders and senior team members should consciously think about how they show up every single day and how they act as role models for other employees at all times. By focusing on ensuring their behaviour and actions align perfectly with the cultural vision provides role models for others in the organisation.
4. Be prepared to challenge the behaviour of others
Leaders must recognise that it’s not just their own behaviour that is important, but also the behaviour that they accept from those around them. If leaders witness someone behaving in a way that doesn’t align with the company values and culture, they must be prepared to take action to tackle this.
Liz Metin, Senior Associate Consultant
If you would like to explore this issue with Liz or another member of the team please contact firstname.lastname@example.org