10 Ways Leaders Influence Organizational Culture

Have you met many real leaders in your professional experiences? What made it world-class leadership material? There’s no wrong answer, but maybe it’s their magnetic influence on their company culture and the people there.

But how do they actually achieve this? Here are ten ways real leaders leave their company’s organizational culture stronger than they found it.

1. They observe

There’s a lot of wisdom in a phrase like “Listen a lot and talk a little.” This is one of the main characteristics of a true leader. They are observant enough to pick up on even the most subtle details of their work environment, including employee behavior, morale concerns, and opportunities to improve company processes.

2. They balance subculture with organizational unity

We were all in high school once. And once we break into the professional world, it’s hard to get rid of the tendency to make friends quickly and break into small groups, or subcultures, within a larger whole. The best leaders see opportunities for team building in these subcultures, but they also know how to encourage greater cooperation between teams and better sharing of information.

3. They don’t cling to titles

Some of the most harmonious companies are those where the hierarchy of the company seems to fade away. Contrast that with an overbearing manager who throws his weight around or looks for ways to get above the base. Real great managers understand the value of a flatter business structure and the benefit of getting suggestions and comments from people who don’t have a powerful headline pasted into their email signature.

4. They are not necessarily appointed leaders

If there’s value in an anointed leader who doesn’t back down from their title, there’s just as much value in an employee who simply exudes respectful leadership as a matter of course. Maybe it’s the leadership they’ve acquired through ongoing training. Or maybe it’s just the ability to listen and empathize with co-workers. However, leadership doesn’t always require a title.

5. They are active in the community

We sometimes forget that there is more to us than our careers. Sometimes leadership in the workplace is defined in part by what happens beyond its walls. By this we mean leaders who are interested in the role they play in their community, their state and even in the world.

Civic engagement and charitable giving of time and money are things every leader should aspire to if they are serious about their business maintaining a prosocial place in society. And it’s a great way to inspire a new generation of civic participants.

6. They Help Employees Understand Their Roles

There can be a disconnect between a company’s stated goals and the day-to-day realities of the people who work there. Sometimes it takes a gifted leader to help employees connect the dots and find meaning and value in what they do. It starts with a look at the company’s values.

Is your goal to design thoughtful products? Impeccable customer service? Whatever the goal, leaders need to know how to help every employee, regardless of their role, and understand how the work they do positively impacts the broader mission.

7. They help colleagues develop their skills

Leaders can work with employees to expand their practical knowledge of their field, broaden their skills, and add new challenges and responsibilities to the work they do. It may even be training multiple employees so they can move between departments as needed for a new challenge and a renewed sense of connection with the big business.

8. They build accountability and ownership of the process

There are many opportunities throughout life for us to learn the value of responsibility. The workplace is, of course, one of the most obvious.

Leaders can work in a variety of ways to build process ownership and accountability in their organization. Which indicators are worth measuring and discussing with employees? What are the most useful benchmarks and goals to pursue? Are there transparency or productivity expectations that are not being met? When leaders build accountability in the workplace, they build accountability everywhere.

9. They look beyond productivity

The idea of ​​leadership exists because we need visionary people who can get things done. But isn’t the workplace much more than the number of widgets we make in an hour or the number of dollars we have earned?

One of your most important jobs as a leader is to drive results without making your teams feel like spokes in a wheel or cogs in a profit machine. Where is the heart? What’s the point of any job you do if you don’t have fun and develop more positive relationships with the people you spend time with every day?

10. They talk to their employees like human beings.

It is certainly true that everyone has a different communication style and uses language differently. But something every leader should keep in mind is that it’s 100% obvious when a leader is talking to an employee or talking above their head.

High-quality leaders have a strong vocabulary and are good at supporting language and constructive criticism. But also think beyond work. If you are a leader, do you smile when you meet someone in the lobby? Are you somehow “emotionally available” when your team has grievances to voice, suggestions to make, or just unnecessary chatter to exchange?

Communication is vital

If there’s one thing you remember from this list, make it the importance of communication. People are looking for leaders who look authentic and exude enthusiasm to engage with their employees. A true leader will always show their colors, no matter the circumstances.