Published by The Nashville Business Journal
Leaders are always accountable for the culture in their own business unit. By nature, every organization has a corporate culture. And regardless of your title, if you are in a leadership role, it’s an important part of your job to communicate and develop the essential elements of that culture.
By simply accepting responsibility and taking an active role in building a strong and positive culture, you can expand your influence in ways that lead to greater productivity and teamwork. Here are some ideas for getting started:
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. A positive and healthy business unit culture is built within an environment of respect. Start creating that atmosphere with simple deeds: Look people in the eye. Communicate clearly. Say “please” before requests and “thank you” after accomplishments. A respectful leader breeds a general culture of respect.
Be transparent. A constructive culture is one of openness on all key subjects. When you share strategic and tactical direction with your team members they will be best positioned to help you achieve larger goals. When you share thoughts and concerns, others will be able to offer constructive ideas. On the other hand, if you operate by keeping secrets you run the risk of undermining productivity—and ultimately respect for you as a leader.
Listen diligently. Listening with intention is crucial to earning respect and creating a culture that attracts smart, motivated employees and encourages superior productivity. When leaders listen, team members follow suit, building morale and confidence throughout the business unit. If you don’t listen you may lose respect of others while missing out on some very good ideas.
Recognize achievement. A culture of recognition spurs teamwork and productivity. When you recognize people for a job well done you will get more well-done jobs. Likewise, when you celebrate team success you will see further group achievement. Sincere recognition of any type is the most powerful motivator of people in the workplace.
Set the standard. As a leader you are tasked with setting the ethical standard for your work group. What you say and do every day become the cultural standard. If you bend the ethical rules—even a little—then your people will feel empowered to do the same. But if you are scrupulously principled in all your words and actions your team will likely follow your high moral example.
Regardless of their company size or position level, leaders set the tone in virtually all aspects of business. No matter what the culture of your organization you have an obligation as an individual leader to set a winning culture for your team.