3 Ways Leadership Shapes Organizational Culture

RAFT Team, January 10, 2022

Everyone wants to work in a business or organization that has a great culture. But many don't know how to cultivate it. Below, we cover 3 ways leadership shapes organizational culture, and how you can implement them in your organization.

Model the Behavior You Want to See

If you have kids or spent much time with them, you know they can act like perfect little mirrors of the adults around them. From body language to belly laughs, they copy the behavior they see. 

And wouldn’t you know it, the same can be true at work. Of course, employees aren't like children by any means. But even when you're grown up, it’s human nature to copy the behavior of the people you admire and respect. 

If you’re a leader, people watch you even more closely. And often holding you to a higher standard than others. Why? Because their livelihood and future are tied up in how well you succeed at running your organization. They know that if you are succeeding, they are likely to succeed. 

When you treat people with respect — listening to them and getting to know them — this behavior will become standard for your organization. If you’re honest and straightforward, they will be as well. If you are generous in your gratitude and carry positivity everywhere, your organizational culture will lean in this direction. And if you’re on time, prepared, and know how to get to work when it’s time to work, your people will learn to copy that attitude and behavior in their own work.

Know Your Strengths and Play to Them Well

Every person has their own set of natural abilities — things that light them up and things they’d rather pass on. As a leader, take the time to understand your strengths and use them to lead your team. Because yes, introverts can be great leaders and Type A people can be strong team players. 

If you’re unsure where your natural abilities lie, consider a personality assessment. We use the VIA Strengths Survey. (16personalities.com or Gallup’s StrengthFinder are also great options.) These will quickly show you that there are no greater or lesser personality traits — the power rests in knowing how to leverage the strengths you have to build a team that’s passionate, insightful, and excellent at what they do.

Get To Know Your People

Who doesn’t pay attention when a leader looks them in the eye, calls them by name, and asks how they’re doing? Especially when you know they really want to know how you’re doing. Personal connection is a powerful team building tool. Know your people. Know their job, yes. But also learn about their families, their hobbies and the things they love to do. Not only will they feel seen, you’ll be able to encourage them, empathize with them, and find common ground. (Learn more about the reasons leaders who serve succeed.) When you know the stories of your people, you're more apt to work together, lean on each other, and build trust. 

Leaders, you have a world of opportunity in your people. It’s a rare person who doesn’t have potential — you just have to find the switch that makes them light up and lean in. It might take some time, it might mean some hard work to build trust and rapport, but when you model the behavior you want to see, play to your strengths, and really value your people, you’ll soon be moving in the right direction towards more unity, more job satisfactions, more fun, and yes, potentially more profits as well.

If you're interested in building your leadership skills and supporting your organization with practical tools, learn about our free training here.