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Great Leadership and Organisational Culture – What’s The Connection?

“When employees feel engaged in a dynamic and caring work culture, their performance, pride and loyalty skyrocket the company and its clients to success.”  William Craig, founder of WebFX.

It’s kind of a domino effect: a clear and compelling purpose informs our values, our values drive our behaviours, and our behaviours influence our culture.  As HubSpot suggest (they suggest lots of brilliant things about culture – check out their views here) “Culture happens – whether planned or not, so why not create a culture we love?” A good question I think.

The connection between great leadership and organisational culture is all about being intentional. Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro in the quirky book – Unstuck, talk about a blocked business, in the realm of culture, as “…being stuck in our own lore…”. If I might take the liberty of extending this useful, story-based, metaphor, then I would urge all leaders who wish to influence a positive culture to become really clear about the stories they wish to tell about themselves and the stories they wish others to tell about them. Perhaps this latter is more imperative in a way, because we can dream all we want about our culture, however, it’s our lived experience that matters. So, if others are not telling the stories we would want to be told about us – then there’s work to be done!

If an organisation’s culture is driven by its behaviours, then spending time crafting what works and doesn’t, how you’d like the business to show up through our team’s actions is worth investing energy in. That’s the first step. Step 2 is learning how to live by those plans. Getting these interactions right encourages an inclusive and supportive environment.

And everyone will have a view about this. Taking time, therefore, to consider how you bring your people into the conversation around culture will be positive. Like everything, where people feel they have been allowed to have a voice, deeper engagement follows. 

Great leaders invite others to join in and be part of creating the future. They also practice what they preach, in all aspects of their working life, and that means ensuring that the values and culture of an organisation are considered in every part of the business from strategy through to structures and processes and how success is viewed and measured.

The final step in the connection between us as leaders and a positive organisational environment is trust.  We can eat, sleep and breathe the company’s culture, yet if our people do not trust our sincerity, they will not engage and emulate that behaviour.  That then is the responsibility of a great leader towards organisational culture.

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Posted on Wed, January 29, 2020 in Leadership Organisational Development
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