Having a successful work culture can mean the difference between having a failing team and a winning one. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to enter the workspaces of some of the most relevant companies and organizations of the day, you will notice something contagious that runs throughout its corridors. During his time researching the secrets of highly successful groups, Daniel Coye, author of the bestselling book, The Culture Code reveals that culture was so prevalent in some organizations that he made up every excuse he could to stay longer.
So what happens when there’s no culture or a severely broken one? One, morale falls. Two, momentum decreases. Three, productivity goes down. This means the company is heading into dangerous territory.
However, there are ways to revive a dying culture. It’s the leader’s responsibility to set up a winning team by careful selection of personalities, establishing clear values and expectations, and most importantly, expressing these values through their own actions.
Here are the three ways leaders can redefine their work culture to build successful teams.
Open the Doors for Kindness and Healing
The corporate environment can be extremely stressful as it is. What can add to the stress is an environment that breeds negativity through people’s insecurities and ignorance. Not everyone was taught the soft skills that are so important for organizational cultures—such as empathy and social awareness. In fact, it starts at the top with leadership. The type of energy the leader brings to the work environment will manifest itself in social expectations. If the leader is cunning and ruthless when it comes to dealing with employees, the employees are more likely to mirror that type of energy. This perpetuates itself into a domino effect, where there’s a chain of negative interactions between the various levels of the organization. How do we avoid this from happening?
Lezly D’Limi, the founder of talentko(™), knows how difficult it is for leaders to balance between aggressive movements to grow the company and remembering to take care of the foundation. The foundation, or the people, she sees as the most crucial element for success, and her personal mission. By creating an environment of openness and kindness, she wants her team to feel valued and supported on their own personal growth journeys. She believes that if leaders want to change work culture for the positive, they must first be trauma-informed, which allows a sense of compassion to weave through the system.
She says, “Rather than treating the symptom, let’s start to look at the cause, like, was there a trauma in your life, big or small that made you doubt yourself? Do you actually love or trust yourself? And where is that showing up in your life, because if you don’t love and trust yourself, then no one’s gonna be able to give you the tools to build resilience.”
Build a Personal Development Roadmap
In a corporate environment, employees are often evaluated based on their output. This motivates employees to work hard for external rewards— but it neglects the importance of personal wellness and development. It encourages people to sometimes compromise their values like their health and family, in order to outperform at work. In the long run, this can be devastating to the individual’s actual productivity, however, they’re encouraged to only think about the short-term.
Changing this type of mindset goes back to culture. It’s the leader’s responsibility to set up mechanisms that encourage personal development, alongside professional.
For example, at talentko(™), Lezly sets up personal development and mental health awareness workshops for all her employees. They also get access to her library of personal development tools such as books. She states “9 out of 10 people in the demographic below me has anxiety. So rather than just not hiring anyone young, we thought what tools and programs can we bring into the business to be able to support them to change for the better.”
Lezly encourages her team to take the needed time off after personal development retreats because she knows how important the reflection period is, and believes it can overall make her employees better in the long run. For talentko(™), the culture persists that there are no shortcuts to personal and organizational success. Personal work is continuous.
Makes Values Explicit Throughout the Organization: Establish a Code
If something is repeated over and over, it’s more likely to stick. Although culture is fluid and bound to change with the people that make up the company; values are likely not. It’s important for leaders in the beginning to establish a clear set of values—from which the culture will extend from.
This sets up a type of expectation that will lead through the hiring process. For example, the concept of radical responsibility is huge for Lezly as a leader. It forces her to remain accountable for her own success and exemplifies to others that this is the gold standard. For talentko(™) itself, its pillars are Openness, Kindness, Trust, and Safety.
Broadcasting this across the organization from the beginning is likely to create a more cohesive, and winning team.
Forming a highly successful team begins with a well-defined work culture. Leaders have the ability to influence and create a work culture that’s conducive to their employee’s well-being, productivity, and interactions with each other.