Four Ways Leaders Influence Organizational Culture
Have you ever walked into an office and felt the energy? Whether it's a sense of excitement, ambition, calm, or stress, it's a product of the company's culture. And guess who plays a significant role in shaping it? Leaders do.
There are several ways we influence our organization’s culture, I’ve selected four for today.
1. Throughout the employee lifecycle
Hiring: Setting the Foundation
The hiring process is the first touchpoint between a potential employee and an organization. It's also a leader's chance to make a lasting impression.
Remember my first job interview? I was told, “We're not just hiring for skills; we're hiring for attitude.” This philosophy ensures that the new hires not only have the required expertise, but also align with the company's values.
Key Insight: Hire for both skill and values fit. Doing so ensures that the new joiners will not only contribute positively to the team's productivity but also to its spirit.
Crafting the Team Dynamic
Selecting team members for projects or specific roles is crucial. Leaders who pay attention to team dynamics and select members based on a combination of skills, personality, and cultural fit tend to foster collaborative environments.
Ever seen a mismatched team? Teams that are diverse yet harmonious are more productive and innovative.
Key Point: Selection isn't just about expertise; it's about balance and harmony within teams.
The First Impression Counts
How new employees are welcomed sets the tone for their journey. A thorough and empathetic onboarding process speaks volumes about an organization's values.
Remember your first day at a new job? Was there a welcome kit? An introduction to the team? Or were you just given a desk and a computer? The difference is palpable.
Takeaway: A warm and informative welcome ensures new employees feel valued and part of the community from day one.
Recognizing and Rewarding the Right Behaviors
Promotions aren't just about performance. They're signals of the behavior an organization values. When leaders promote based on a blend of results and cultural contribution, they're sending a clear message about what's important.
Think about it: Isn't it motivating to know that your hard work and positive attitude can lead to growth?
Essential Note: Reward those who embody both the drive for results and the spirit of the company culture.
No leader enjoys letting someone go. However, when necessary, doing so with respect and empathy maintains the organization's integrity.
Have you ever had to make that hard choice? It's never easy, but occasionally, it's essential for the team's well-being.
Major Insight: How a leader manages departures speaks volumes about the company's character. Handle with care.
2. The Leader's Focus
Every organization has its pulse—a rhythm that dictates its pace, vibe, and values. But who sets this pulse? Often, it's the leaders. The areas they choose to focus on, the metrics they measure, and the controls they implement significantly influence an organization's culture.
What Leaders Pay Attention To: Setting Priorities
Leaders are always watched, and their interests don't go unnoticed. The projects, people, and issues they pay attention to implicitly communicate what's important.
Ever observed a CEO's behavior? If they regularly engage with the R&D department, innovation becomes a clear priority. If they frequently interact with customer service teams, it underscores the importance of customer satisfaction.
Key Insight: A leader's attention steers the organization's priorities. Where the eyes go, the effort flows.
Measurement: Quantifying Success
Metrics are powerful. They tell a story about what's valued, what's succeeding, and what needs improvement. When leaders measure specific outcomes, they signal their importance.
Remember school? If only test scores were emphasized, creativity and teamwork could be overlooked. Similarly, in organizations, if only short-term profits are measured and not long-term sustainability or employee well-being, it shapes the company's cultural focus.
Crucial Point: Metrics don't just measure outcomes; they define values.
Control: Setting Boundaries and Expectations
Regular controls, audits, and checks might seem tedious, but they're essential. They ensure standards, maintain quality, and safeguard the company's values.
Think about traffic lights. Without them, chaos ensues. Similarly, without organizational controls, culture can drift away from its intended direction.
Takeaway: Regular controls aren't restrictive; they're guiding lights, ensuring the organization stays on its desired path.