“What are the ways leaders influence organizational culture?” I’ve often been asked, and I’ve often written as well. The subject of culture is an ever-evolving field, but there are some basics that we all know. These include values, beliefs, attitudes, and willingness to act even when it’s not popularly appropriate. Let’s take a look at these key concepts and see if they apply to leadership styles.
First, values-are things you believe and are willing to act on when your leaders tell you so. Leaders have a unique opportunity to set the tone and the culture of their team. One of the things I’ve frequently heard managers ask about is whether their manager has a core values statement or not. The answer is usually, “Not yet.”
Second, beliefs-are things that members of a group believe are true. When they believe something strongly enough, they tend to act on it. There are exceptions, of course, but the typical belief is that there is a great deal of change is inevitable. Leaders set the tone and determine the culture. They also can inspire, motivate, and discourage their group by their attitudes and actions. These attitudes will be remembered by future employees and will be considered part of the hiring decisions when those employees become leaders.
Attitudes and actions are linked to behavior. If people perceive themselves as having certain characteristics or attributes, they’ll act in accordance with that impression. Thus, it’s important for leaders to demonstrate the value of those qualities.
Leaders who don’t seem to respond to change can create a negative workplace environment. Employees who are constantly told that “things are always changing” or “they’re going in a different direction” aren’t likely to be happy with the company for a long time. A business that doesn’t adapt to changes or who resists change to the point of dysfunction will likely go out of business within a few years. Here are some brief ways leaders can inspire organisational culture.
- Leaders should ignite the spark and promote accountability.
- Leaders should make ‘responsibility’ a collaborative concept to promote office culture.
- Leaders should promote diversity.
- Leaders should set reasonable expectations and assist employees in building the needed skills.
- Leaders should establish an achievable purpose to believe in.
Organizations have a limited amount of capital for investing in new leaders. It will cost money to hire a new leader and provide benefits and perks for existing leaders. Organizations can’t afford to “buy in” to predetermined leadership styles. If organizational leaders don’t show flexibility and willingness to adapt to unexpected change, they will soon be gone from the scene.
Remember, successful leaders provide a sense of purpose, vision, inspiration, and mentorship to those they lead.