Leadership has the power to influence culture and plays a critical role in the sustained success of an organization. Good leaders have the ability to create a positive culture and optimally motivate their people, while poor leadership drains motivational outlooks and can poison a culture. It’s important to keep in mind that leadership’s impact on cultivating culture gives companies a competitive advantage over other organizations. Today’s modern organizations can not afford to ignore the influence of leadership has on organizational culture. Great companies intentionally invest in leadership development as a viable business strategy and a means to creating a healthy and engaged culture.
However, leadership isn’t just a flavor of the month, it is a practice and set of skills that influence positive results for an organization. An effective leadership strategy is not a one-size-fits-all workshop event. The effect that different leadership styles and practices have on company culture isn’t always considered when it comes to choosing and planning how you will benchmark leadership capacity in your organization.Do you feel like your #CompanyCulture strategy is missing something? Find out what the missing piece may be in this article from @InspireSoftware:Tweet This!
How exactly does leadership influence the company culture? These factors play a big role:
Individual Leadership Qualities
There are several ways to identify a good leader in your organization. Good leaders operate as a member of the team, not as the authority of the team. Good leaders are dedicated to the development of others, not just the development of their own personal ideas. They are not “glory seekers” or “credit takers” and they empower their team to collaborate and execute on their people’s ideas-- not just their own personal vision. Good leaders celebrate their employees' success as they accomplish goals and always connect individual achievement with the greater good of the organization in order to create a company culture that thrives, not just survives.
Defining and measuring the leadership qualities and competencies that are right for your organization demonstrates a higher level of commitment to individual employees. Regularly assessing leaders in your organization is a great way to recognize what influence their leadership has over company culture and what they can do to continually improve it.
There are 3 core leadership qualities to consider when cultivated your corporate culture through leadership:
- Strategic thinking skills and the ability to see the big picture
- A boss tells their employees what to do, whereas a leader inspires their employees to understand why their goals and tasks are important to the team and the organization and how to find personal growth through the pursuit of them. People want to know where their organization is headed, how it will get there, and how their individual position fits into it all. A culture of engagement can be created when leaders are being transparent about how each goal and task serves the objective of the company and contributes to the vision and values of the organization.
- Practice what you preach
- The saying, “actions speak louder than words” has never been more true in the foreground of today’s social media world. Saying one thing as a leader but doing something different can have a serious negative impact on company culture. It’s important for leaders to do more than just talk about values, but for their actions to align with those values. Leaders who lead by example create a culture of respect and trust and increase the intentions of employees to perform at a high level and to stay with that organization over time.
- The ability to empower others
- Leaders should entrust their employees to make decisions that positively impact the organization while developing their own careers. Even though leaders are often perceived as authority figures in a company, they should give their employees the independence to make decisions and hold themselves accountable, not relying on their position power to consistently make decisions. Responsibility, accountability, and authority create a strong culture and builds future leaders and produces a healthy business process.
Competitive Advantages of a Positive Culture
Culture matters when it comes to competitive advantages in any market. Even if your company’s cultural strategy looks good on paper, the inability to live up to and manifest your vision, values, and strategy is a barrier to becoming and remaining a successful brand. In the same way that great leaders create a great culture, bad leaders generate a sub-optimal culture. To gain a competitive edge in your industry, it’s important for leaders to know why a healthy and thriving culture matters:
- A positive culture influences adaptability
- Change is inevitable within an organization, and a negative culture will crush the ability of employees to cope with and manage changes effectively, and in the end, will only create more challenges. Don’t let a poor leadership unintentionally generate a negative culture that gets in the way of innovation and change within your organization.
- Culture influences results
- Employees who work in a company culture that they are engaged in, enjoy, and meets their personal values, are more productive at work and invested in the success of the company. A workforce that’s more invested will inherently serve the client better and generate healthy business results.
Developing and coaching your leaders on a continual basis isn’t just a “feel good” process; it’s a viable business strategy that helps to ensure your organizational culture remains healthy and engaged when attempting to meet the demands of a fast-paced and ever-changing business environment.
Are your leaders are prepared to cultivate a culture of excellence? What key leadership practices should your team be following to optimize performance at every level and ultimately boost culture? Find out in our Leadership Practices whitepaper!