Business culture comes from the top-down. While not rolled out purposely, a business’ culture is essentially a game of Follow-the-Leader.
If leadership does not have integrity, staff members will play fast and loose with their own work. If leadership trusts its employees, they will trust each other and leadership itself. It’s that simple.
When it goes wrong
Workers look to company leaders to set a precedent in the workplace and keep them engaged. The problem is that some leaders may be cultivating a toxic culture without even recognizing it.
A selfish leader takes unwarranted credit for all good results and rarely singles out employees for their good work. There’s not a great deal of inspiration for employees to work hard when they realize their supervisor is going to take all the glory. This type of self-centeredness results in a culture where there is little teamwork.
A bad culture also comes from a leader blaming everyone for failures and setbacks. It’s never a great idea to throw someone under the bus, but when the leader persistently avoids accountability, the culture becomes one where nobody is accountable, setting the stage for poor results.
When a leader second guesses every action made by others, a culture of distrust takes root and is very challenging to eliminate. Nobody will feel enabled or believe that their choices will be supported.
Leaders also set a poor example when they manipulate access to people and information. This type of behavior blocks open and honest dialogue and leads to mistrust. A culture constructed this way will fold under its own weight because staff members do not feel have the information required trust the business or its leadership.
Finally, a leader that doesn’t follow the rules breeds animosity in a company’s culture. If policies don’t pertain to the supervisor, employees seek to bend the rules, too. Once this occurs, chaos sets in.
When it goes right
Leaders must be capable of holding themselves accountable. That means celebrating their victories and owning up to their failures. When leaders take responsibility for their actions, staff members will think it’s okay to do the same. And if the supervisor is very competent but regularly takes blame when things go wrong, staff members will come to respect him or her.
Leaders shouldn’t work in a vacuum. They ought to be ready to take risks, collaborate, and learn from others, especially frontline employees. If they do, they are helping to drive innovation throughout the company.
A good company culture comes when leaders put other people first. They share credit and celebrate team successes. They also work hard to support and grow the careers of their staff members. A good culture allows room for mistakes and risk-taking because that policy leaves room for employees to grow and innovate.
At NSC, we support company leaders by providing them with custom talent acquisition solutions and service. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company.