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3 Ways Leaders Shape Organization Culture

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Leaders Shape Organization Culture

Image Credit: UDEM Catalogo|Flickr

One of the challenges of being a CEO or business leader is the perception that “the man at the top” has all the responsibility for the effective management of the organization. Let’s take organization culture, for example, whose responsibility is it to shape it? To many, it is the man at the top – the CEO.”

In reality, anyone who can lead in any small capacity can play a part in shaping the culture of his or her organization. You may not be a CEO, and odds are you don’t a chance to make important decisions about in your company. Even as a supervisor, you can shape your organization’s culture right within your department or division.

Organization culture underpins the simple daily disciplines we often overlook. It cuts across how early we get to work and how we do what we do throughout the day. An important part of that great culture examines how we communicate to our colleagues, how we serve our customers, and how we discuss our company inside and outside the organization. The sad reality is that anyone can overlook these simple disciplines, but that would not make them any less of a culture. The lesson is that everything you do matters. They way you communicate – what you say and how you choose to say them shape your organization culture.

Great Leaders Shape Organization Culture

Let us examine three ways business leaders shape their organization’s culture.


1. Trust, Honesty and Transparency

The golden rule is to do to others what you want them to do to you. This is relevant in trust building because no one can genuinely trust you unless you first trust them and show that you care. Trust is a safety zone, and you’ve got to show people that you are safe before they can deal with. One great way you can demonstrate this fact is through open communication. Be transparent in your communication and encourage your constituents to do the same. Be sure to do what you say and if you can for any reason, let your team know also.

Practice truth-telling. Give empowering feedback, and avoid not saying “That’s great” when your colleague is on the wrong path. To say “That’s great” when someone does something wrong shuts down learning. Instead, praise your team for making an effort, and leverage the powerful questioning technique to get them thinking about how they can improve their results.

Assuming James is working on a project but isn’t delivering the expected results, you can say something like…

It is great you are making progress on Project X and getting results already James. It looks as if the output is somewhat different from the original…, how can you make it look as exactly as original?”

With such an honest feedback, James is able to understand that you appreciate his effort, and takes note of your request to improve his result.


2. Engaging and Mobilizing

Great leaders shape organization culture by effectively engaging and mobilizing their employees to deliver high-performance results. Employee engagement and mobilization is an important leadership capability that can create an extraordiinary achievements. Sadly, its definition is only confined to activities or participation in projects.

Let’s look at engagement and mobilization from the perspective of achieving satisfaction on the job. Employees are more engaged and mobilized when what they do aligns with who they are – their core values. Quite often people feel coerced doing jobs that satisfies them the least. As leader, you need to create an environment that supports your team to maximize potential? One way you can achieve that is by providing them with the right resources to work. Then get out of their way to apply their Unique Strength to create the results you seek. Skills alignment and job satisfaction are all part of the techniques of team engagement and mobilization.


3. Accountability

How often do you make mistakes and how many times do you truly take responsibility for them? If you are like many leaders, you probably don’t. Accountability shapes organization culture and empowers employees to own their choices, actions, and results. It is the culture that allows you and your employees to say “I’m sorry, I made a mistake” when a mistake occurs.

Leaders who promote accountability consciously create a great learning environment that encourages learning and growth. The trouble is that for anyone to create such environment, he or she must be willing to first admit their own mistakes.

You have a responsibility to shape your organization culture. Whether you lead in a large company or a small department, you can influence people around you to live your company’s core values.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments in the comment box below.

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About the author

Since 2010, Nkem Mpamah has been assisting entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to improve performance, create sustainable competitiveness, and maximize profit. Nkem is the founder and Chief Executive of Cognition Global Concepts (CGC).

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