Corporate culture is the foundation of successful businesses. It unites and motivates employees at all levels of the organization and creates a cohesive, encouraging working environment.
Who’s responsible for creating a positive company culture? While many people assume it’s HR’s job, nurturing the workforce is largely performed by those in leadership positions. At the end of the day, a great company culture is a reflection of competent leadership.
The best leaders guide by example, offering effective direction and motivating employees at all levels of the organization. People follow leaders they trust and they look to them for inspiration. That’s why it’s essential to create an environment that’s uplifting and supportive, where work becomes purpose-driven for each individual. Having a good company culture is the best way to attract talented people and retain the ones who are already there. While work pressures may ebb, flow, and change from time to time, managing that stress becomes more bearable in a supportive environment. There is no one perfect recipe to create an enviable corporate culture but there are some common principles.
Here are eight ways effective leadership can shape the culture of your workplace.
1. Practice the art of active listening.
One of the best ways to encourage open and honest communication is to model active listening. It shows people that you value them and their input. Give your undivided attention when your employees are speaking to you. Ask follow-up questions to demonstrate that you’re paying attention and to make sure there are no miscommunications. Keep an open mind and respond thoughtfully to what they’re saying.
2. Brush up on your communication skills.
Using transparent, courteous communication is one of the best ways to cultivate loyalty and boost your team’s performance. Say “please” and “thank you” frequently, and focus on bringing a sincere, polite attitude to every situation. Also strive to be specific in your communications. Clear-cut communication increases the likelihood that people will understand what you’re asking of them and will take the appropriate actions. Don’t end a conversation until you’re sure the other person understands your objectives and how to achieve them.
3. Consider your body language.
Your nonverbal communication is just as important as what you say, and perhaps even more so. Facial expressions, posture, and eye contact all play a major role in how your message comes across to your team members. Crossing your arms, for example, signifies defensiveness, so keep an open, welcoming stance. And pay attention to whether your body language aligns with what you’re saying to ensure you’re perceived as a trustworthy leader.
4. Practice what you preach.
If you’re seeking to change the culture of your organization, your first step should be to model the behaviors you want everyone else to follow. Humans tend to learn by what they see rather than by what they hear. Therefore, your actions—both positive and negative—can have a profound effect on your employees’ behavior.
5. Keep your word.
Make sure you follow up on any promises, no matter how small they may be. Even more importantly, make sure what you promise can actually be done. Too many managers underestimate what it takes to commit to things. Once you’re sure, put your promises in writing and follow through on them. By putting commitments in writing, it eliminates misunderstandings.
6. There is no “I” in “team”.
It’s important to remember that people are not commodities and leaders cannot exist alone. They must have committed followers to implement a shared vision of a better future. Great leaders focus on facilitating their team’s success, not on personal ambition and glorification. Strive to build a community of committed, like-minded people working towards an overarching shared goal.
7. Show how much you care.
An astonishing 43% of employees leave their jobs due to a lack of recognition, according to 2019 research by Gallup. As a leader, you have the power to develop a desirable culture of appreciation that facilitates company loyalty. Go the extra mile to demonstrate your sincere appreciation by adopting some simple yet effective recognition tools, such handwritten thank you notes, awards programs, team outings, and celebrations of personal accomplishments.
8. Seek out the positives.
If an employee is doing a good job, tell them so. Positive reinforcement is uplifting for the recipient and encourages repeat behavior. Recognize, reward, and offer praise as much as possible. When you must deliver negative feedback, offer constructive advice that is specific and actionable.
Corporate culture has a direct impact on employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Leaders hold tremendous power and should consider the profound influence they have on the overall fabric of the company culture. Strive to be the kind of leader who inspires others to reach their full potential.
Shape your company culture into an enviable one and improve your workplace morale, too. The HR Team has decades of experience in helping leaders to excel in their roles. Please contact us to get started.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.