Culture is the character and personality of your organisation and is the holy grail of organisational success. Getting it right will not only drive the right behaviour, but it will ensure that everyone is engaged in something more important than the work itself.
Nailing your company culture means we see beliefs and behaviours that positively impact the company and transform the performance of our teams.
Workplace culture plays a key factor in recruiting and retaining talented individuals and has a profound effect on team productivity and our day-to-day sense of wellbeing. It involves celebrating each other’s differences, fostering trust and encouraging open conversations, providing meaningful work and inspiring recognition for the small wins, and valuing everyone’s contribution.
“One in five Australians have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.”Beyond Blue ‘State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia’ Survey, 2014
As leaders, we need to look out for the red flags that signal we have an issue with our culture; check out our blog here: 6 Signs you have a toxic company culture.
Toxic cultures can be easy to identify and rectify or become more obscure as cultures continuously evolve. Because of this, it is essential for leaders to keep an eye out for any unusual dynamics and refine when necessary.
As a leader…
Being in a leadership position, you should look within to address the underlying issues of workplace toxicity.
Displaying care and commitment to improving the workplace culture is the first step that shows your team you value their concerns and wellbeing. A few key actions to consider when you note signs that your company culture may be slipping are:
1. Focus on your team’s psychological safety
Psychological safety in the workplace is the key to a successful high-performing team – it creates happy employees, and a culture of inclusion, and diversity. As a leader, it is your responsibility to create a safe space for individuals that wish to speak up, and that wish to be heard without judgement or fear of consequence. A lot of unnecessary situations are potentially avoidable if there is psychological safety in the workplace. Develop a plan that fosters respect, trust, empathy, and appreciation, being sure to support change and open communication, and relaying back to your team the values and beliefs of your organisation.
2. Address your team’s care and wellbeing at the start of every conversation
Start by asking your team members more curious and open questions when having a conversation. In a professional context, we’re all trained to respond to the standard question “How are you?” with a non-committal “I’m good thanks.” Encouraging your team to be open and honest with you stems from a healthy, trusting relationship. However, the wording of your questions asked can impact the answer you receive – be more specific in your questions! For example, you could ask “How are you really doing?”, or “How was your weekend, what did you get up to?”. Absorbing and later referencing details is another way to deepen conversations. Your goal as a leader isn’t to pry, it’s to let someone know that you’re paying attention and that you care enough to follow up.
3. Celebrate the small wins – progress over perfection
Of all the things that can boost your team’s happiness and wellbeing, the most important is assigning your team meaningful work, and celebrating small wins achieved along the way that contribute to greater success. Big wins are great, however, don’t occur often. The good news is that small wins occur more frequently and can significantly boost your work-life satisfaction. Celebrating the teams’ incremental progress can increase people’s engagement in their work and the happiness experienced during their workday. Leaders have the power to show their team how their work is contributing and by doing so, can greatly impact their wellbeing and the overall team workplace culture.
The important thing to note is that company culture reflects leadership. What is communicated, demonstrated, reinforced, celebrated, tolerated and followed up will become what is the culture of a team. It is the leaders’ responsibility to achieve a culture of outstanding performance, as well as ensure that the standards of behaviour and culture of the team are aligned to an overall vision and are consistent with the values of the organisation.
Are you looking to improve your workplace culture?
Here at Corporate Edge, we consider ourselves organisational culture experts. Our purpose is to facilitate the achievement of human potential, on an individual and organisational level, helping to create prosperous and ever-growing organisations.
Learn how we can work with you and your team to develop leadership skills organisation-wide and align your culture. Get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 2 9566 1422.