When it comes to building a healthy culture, there is no greater or more impactful example of culture than that of leadership.
Research continues to show that many of the world’s most profitable companies attribute a great deal of their success to their organizational culture. At the forefront of these organizations are leaders who actively, regularly, and genuinely display the type of behavior desired for all of its members.
Some leaders equate their high visibility to constantly being put under the microscope. They describe the dynamic as having a small margin for error as the world dissects their every move.
Conversely, some leaders capitalize on such heightened visibility as an opportunity to introduce or reiterate their culture. Unlike the first group, they show less signs of stress because they are energized by the culture in place and have integrated it into their daily leadership. Leading with their culture as a guide is not a burdensome task; it’s simply the norm.
Leaders who serve as role models set the tone by setting the example. They aren’t always the most charismatic or outgoing leaders; they just say or do things they feel will have an impact. And they say and do these things often.
Many workers are skeptical when it comes to the intentions of leaders. The aforementioned charismatic or outgoing leaders sometimes do more to hurt their ability to be impactful than to help it. Workers don’t necessarily see culture champions, but rather self-serving individuals who enjoy the spotlight or the grand stage of leadership.
Other leaders show that it’s possible to be less flamboyant or outspoken, but just as effective. They may not do anything outrageous, but they are doing many of the small things that easily resonate with followers. As a result, they establish trust and put to bed the skepticism other leaders struggle to overcome.
As employees begin to see this behavior as normal and genuine, similar behavior starts to permeate throughout the organization. What was witnessed at the top of the organization has now worked its way down.
Leaders have a choice. They can leave the importance of culture and values to the rest of the organization and simply go about their day. Or, they can be the biggest and brightest example of culture within their organization. One may or may not produce results. The other will surely have an impact.