The success of any business can depend on the level of organization and leadership within the company’s culture. With the right leadership, a positive organizational culture can affect an entire workplace. Understanding organizational culture and how leadership affects it can help you become a more effective leader in your own organization by adopting new behaviors and values.
In this article, we define organizational culture and leadership, explore its effects and explain its importance.
What is organizational culture and leadership?
Organizational culture and leadership is a set of values that defines a company and how the company’s leadership exemplifies and reinforces those values. It defines the behaviors and actions the company expects employees to take to create a positive environment while helping the business succeed. Organizational culture also guides a company’s mission and objectives, making it important to clearly define so each employee fully understands the mission they’re working towards.
Why is leadership important for organizational culture?
Leaders show employees how to embody values that contribute to organizational culture. It’s the duty of a leader to communicate the company’s mission, goals and core values. Leaders are responsible for defining, teaching, measuring and rewarding the culture they want to foster. Ethical leadership can help businesses succeed and grow by not only inspiring employees but also showing the public that the company has strong, positive values. Ethical leaders create a culture of honesty, integrity, trust and fairness.
Employees under ethical leadership are often more engaged and happier to work for the business. Leaders set an example each day for employees to follow and may also enforce certain policies to ensure fair, ethical practices remain the standard at a business with ethical organizational culture and leadership.
How leadership affects organizational culture
Managers can teach organizational culture through social interactions. Through their own actions, leaders show employees what behavior is acceptable and encouraged. Here are ways that leadership affects organizational culture and leadership:
Defines and teaches core values
You can define a strong business culture by its firmly held core values that are organized, shared and transmitted by employees. Leaders are role models who demonstrate behaviors that reflect the company’s core values. Effective leaders show their employees what actions they should take to fully embrace workplace values. It’s the duty of a leader to translate the mission of an organization into tangible results.
Fosters a desire to learn
A quality leader demonstrates a genuine interest in promoting the growth of their employees. For that reason, they freely share what they know with others. They help team members build a career path, then share the knowledge that the employee needs to follow it. Leaders promote the idea that employees can learn from any opportunity.
By encouraging employees to take risks in order to grow their knowledge base, effective leaders are able to foster a culture of learning and growth. Employees who feel safe to explore and learn may find their work more fulfilling and meaningful. They feel more inclined to collaborate and learn from others.
Promotes a culture of recognition
When leaders let employees know that their contributions are valuable, they foster a culture of recognition. The task of the leader is to reward and incentivize hard work and good behavior. When leaders give positive praise, they help employees feel fulfilled and confident. Leadership fosters a culture of appreciation. Quality leaders encourage their employees to recognize other coworkers for their positive contributions. For instance, during a team meeting, a manager could ask coworkers to share specific instances of when a colleague excelled. A workplace culture where everyone celebrates success builds stronger teams.
Encourages a shared vision
Effective leaders define a shared goal for which everyone can strive. They promote a vision of the future that’s positive and value-based. By outlining detailed steps, they show team members how to successfully reach a goal. Employees receive a clear understanding of their role within any collective process and collaborate to achieve a shared vision of the future. Being able to describe a realistic vision inspires employees to be more productive. When they accomplish goals, employees feel fulfilled and valued. Seeing results helps them understand how they contribute to the company.
Changes the culture
Leaders understand that workplace culture continually grows and changes. Understanding the dynamic nature of the workplace helps them guide their team members through these changes.
When changes in company culture are necessary, leaders have a responsibility to communicate the information to employees effectively. Cultural changes require clear communication with every person in an organization. Leaders who value workplace culture understand that their duty is to keep actively creating a healthy organizational culture. They show their team members what behaviors align with the cultural changes and what behaviors they can alter.
Improves job satisfaction
Job satisfaction is the feeling of how well the working environment meets the needs of employees. It relies on an employee’s evaluation of the company values and how they agree with their core values. A variety of factors influence job satisfaction, including the quality of leadership. Leaders are typically mindful of how their leadership style affects employees.
Employees who are more satisfied with their work are more likely to have better job performance. Choosing a leadership style that benefits an organization and its employees is one of the most effective ways to improve job satisfaction. Many leadership styles exist, and it’s common to use several types based on the situation. Some leaders use a combination of many styles to fit their needs.
Accountability is essential for leaders to shape organizational culture. Leaders hold people accountable to ensure that they remain responsible for completing their work. Leaders help show employees that organizational culture exists to guide them to success. Having a culture of accountability starts with comprehensive job descriptions that outline measures of success. A quality leader is transparent with their team members about the standards they expect employees to meet. During reviews, leaders can further elaborate on expectations and standards. If they give employees clear, measurable steps to success, employees may be more likely to meet and exceed expectations.