There’s a lot to be said for culture in the workplace and as a rule it starts from the top down.
As a specialist in Team Dynamics, Leadership, Teamwork and Communication within small teams, I regularly get asked to present to sporting and business teams in an effort to improve their productivity and the way in which they communicate with each other.
My role is to evaluate and understand exactly what the boss, business owner or team coach is asking me to achieve and what they perceive the problem to be. Now as a rule, the problem is not the problem which I have mentioned before and so I have to listened to what is not being said as much as what is being said. That’s quite a useful skill to have in all aspects of business and life.
The Number One problem I identify is a poor or total lack of positive CULTURE in the team.
There’s no point trying to improve the way people communicate if the culture is no good, because the communication is likely to be negative anyway. This means people are becoming more effective at having negative communication.
What is Culture and why is it important?
Culture can be defined as an evolving set of collective beliefs, values and attitudes.
Culture is a key component in business and has an impact on the strategic direction of business.
Culture influences management, decisions and all business functions from accounting through to production.
One of the most important parts in the definition above is ‘A set of collective beliefs, values and attitudes.’
Your team is made up of different people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. This means they will naturally have differing beliefs, values and attitudes. There is no such thing as ‘Common Sense’ because common doesn’t exist, so if you find yourself as a leader being annoyed when someone doesn’t show common sense then you’re actually being quite unfair. If you fail to set guidelines for what’s acceptable behaviour within your team in relation to Beliefs, Values and Attitudes and instead run the old line of “It should be common sense.”, then you’re failing as a leader and you’re failing your team.
Culture starts at the top and works it’s way down. If you have a problems within your team around communication or behaviours, you must take full responsibility and you must do something to change it.
Whilst you have a diverse team and therefore have differing beliefs, values and attitudes, what you do to bring in an acceptable culture is to first run a workshop with the entire team. Here you work around the Mission, Vision and Values of the business. I personally believe that your Values are the most important and you want your entire team to be a part of coming up with them, accepting them and understanding them.
There needs to be workshops at least six monthly around knowing and understanding the Values. It makes it very easy to ensure everyone lives up to the values this way. If someone doesn’t work within the Values of the team and doesn’t find the Values sit well for them, then you don’t want or need them in your team no matter how skilled they are in other areas.
Your values should be mentioned in part at any team meeting or get together. They become the very fabric that weaves your team’s attitudes and behaviours together in the workplace.
If you don’t actively create culture in your team then the culture creates itself and that’s a scary thing.
If your workplace is loaded with bullying, passive aggressive behaviour, harassment of any form, gossiping about each other then you have a culture problem. Don’t try to address those individual issues when the bigger picture is your CULTURE.
Fix it and quickly or you risk a high level of staff turnover (just work out what it costs to train staff before you decide you can’t afford to up skill your current staff) and worse still an environment that ultimately effects your brand and your customer or client base.
Culture is King (or Queen). Treat it like the number one priority it is.
If you want to get on the front foot and work on your team culture (and yes you should want to do that, don’t wait until you have a problem), drop me a line and let’s get your team or business back on the right path.
E – firstname.lastname@example.org M – 0438 364106