Organisational Culture And Leadership

The Ways Leaders Influence Organisational Culture

4 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

Leaders have a massive influence on the overall culture of an organisation – whether they’re doing it on purpose or not. It’s only natural that the attitudes and values of the people at the top trickle down to affect the rest of the team. This attitude influences organisational culture, for better or for worse. 

Harness that power by being mindful of how leaders influence the team to create a stronger company culture. 

What is organisational culture, and why does it matter? 

Essential for shaping and guiding a company through its everyday operation, organisational culture is a combination of the values, goals and aims of a company as well as the beliefs, attitude and habits of its people. 

A good organisational culture provides a backbone for growth, productivity and success. More than 90% of executives think that culture is important for their organisation’s wellbeing, and there are plenty of reasons why. 

A good culture can:

  • Improve retention and make recruitment easier: Not only are happy workers more likely to stay, but Glassdoor found that 77% of prospective employees consider culture before applying
  • Boost employee engagement and satisfaction: The happier and healthier a workplace culture is, the higher the chances that employees will thrive
  • Provide ground for improvement: 72% of leaders believe that culture helps successful change initiatives happen, according to Money Transfer 

What contributes to a strong organisational culture?

An organisation’s culture is made up of many different parts, but there are a few areas that can make a big difference. 

Being able to define your culture

Knowing how to describe your culture and share its values with your team is an important first step. If you can’t encapsulate your values, it can be hard for others to live by them. 

Fostering a healthy approach to work

Successful organisations know how important it is to inspire and encourage a good work ethic and understand the value of a sensible work-life balance and healthy working environment.

Creating a space to learn and grow 

A good culture encourages the growth and upskilling of its members. Not only will this improve the overall abilities of your team, but it will also boost their wellbeing too. Employee development is a key part of any thriving culture. 

How leaders influence organisational culture

Leaders can influence the development and maintenance of company culture in various ways. Here are a few you should keep on your radar:

By fostering free and open communication 

The healthiest and most robust organisational cultures are ones that have a strong focus on honest and open communication at all levels. This means that everyone should be able to talk freely without fear of reprisal, and all staff members have access to leaders and decision-makers. 

Leaders who only pass the information on to a select few will quickly find that the culture remains secretive and fragmented. By opening up the lines of communication and showing how much everyone’s feedback is valued, you can create a space where everyone is invested and keen to share. 

By showing appreciation and recognition

Leaders who can show their teams that they are paying attention to their effort are destined to create a more robust company culture. 

Personal recognition lets employees know that their skills are valued, and whether it’s a regular check-in or a few dedicated words of appreciation, taking the time to highlight what’s unique about someone is a great way to bolster feelings of success and satisfaction. 

This leads to a higher-performing team and culture that feels productive and positive.  

By trusting your team and offering autonomy 

A leader who is always second-guessing their employee’s decisions or who has a habit of micromanagement is in danger of creating an atmosphere of frustration or resentment. If you can demonstrate your belief in the people you’re working with, you’re allowing them to experiment and drive innovation. 

Employees who feel trusted and supported are more likely to exceed your expectations – and recognise that they are valuable members of your culture.  

By being observant and welcoming feedback

It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of everyday expectations, but great leaders can take a step back and look at what’s happening around them. You might be surprised by what you observe when you take yourself out of the picture and look at how the rest of your team is functioning.  

The same goes for asking for employee feedback. Make it easy for your team to share their feelings and ideas and be willing to act on those suggestions. There’s no better way for a leader to positively influence an organisational culture than to show that they care about their individual members and are paying attention to ways to enact positive change. 

Overall, if you’re in a position of power in the workplace, you must be the best role model. Live the values you want to see around you, and the rest of your workplace is likely to embody them too.

Transform your culture with Mo

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  • Improve employee engagement scores
  • Reduce employee churn
  • Build a collaborative culture
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Mo is an employee recognition and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues.

Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today!

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