Creating a Company Culture Based on Your Leadership Style

Whether you are the owner of a company or the president, you have the ability to effective the culture that drives your business. It is tough to do this from the middle of an organization and therefore, should you be seeking new opportunities, being tuned into the company culture can be the difference between finding a position that fulfills your life versus one that just pays the bills. In order for that culture to trickle down throughout the organization it needs to be created, nurtured and supported at every level from the top leader through to each department, up to and including, those that interact directly with the customer. In an article called 5 Simple Steps to Create an Award Winning Culture, the author Ben Kirshner, CEO, Elite SEM Inc., starts by saying that if you are having trouble attracting great talent, it may be your company culture. He goes on to talk about the five steps but the first tip is the one that addresses leadership and helps to begin the process of determining what the culture should be to best represent your leadership style.

You Don’t Have to Own a Company to Be Interested in Company Culture.

Please don’t dismiss this article as irrelevant to your life just because you don’t own a company. Understanding company cultures and which ones represent your work ethic and values is just as important if you are looking for a job. In the article Ben states right off that it isn’t that you can’t FIND great talent – the problem is you may not ATTRACT great talent because of your company culture – and that great talent is you! So how does he recommend you start the process of determining the company culture? Step One: “Define top-down values, and recognize those who exemplify them.Regardless of the size or structure of your organization, your people look to leadership as an example of how to behave. This makes it vital that your leadership team sits down to define core values. To get your introspective juices flowing, identify your all-star players and discuss which core values make them so successful. Then, narrow your list based on these insights, considering whether each value would be important enough to hire or fire someone over. Finally, trim your list to three to five values that truly make up the structure of your organization. Use your key values to guide decisions and set clear expectations for your teams. Then, recognize employees who truly exemplify them.” 

What Are Your 3-5 Values in Business?

What type of company culture appeals to you? Do they give back to the community? Recognize top performers, promote from within, focus on the customer first, have “casual Friday” everyday, offer work from home options or have on site childcare? If you are in the process of seeking a new opportunity, think through the top values that are important to you. If you are opening a company or already own a company but want to refine the culture within your organization; start with your top values, what is most important to you?

Finding the Right Match

When you interview for a position it really is a two-way interview. You should also be asking questions to see if the company culture is a good fit. Ben shared his process for screening new candidates. He starts by sharing their company goals and asking for initial thoughts and feedback: “First, we request that they read the agency’s Painted Picture for 2016, which defines our vision and goal for the coming years. Then, we ask about the impression they got from reviewing the Painted Picture, their interest in the company, their personal values and goals, and the one thing that makes them unique. Their answers give us insight into whether or not they’d be good culture fits before they’re even screened.” In an article from Entrepreneur Magazine entitled How to Create a Company Culture People Will be Excited to Join, the author, Nichole Spaight,vice president, Adecco Staffing US, suggests that you focus on the associates, creating a culture that people will believe in and want to work for: “…no company can succeed without a strong workforce, and one where employees really believe in the company’s mission and culture can make it even stronger. Creating an environment that values employees and allows them to learn and grow will attract the most talented employees — and contribute significantly to your company’s success.”

How do Leadership Styles Impact Company Culture?

In an article entitled The Effects of Leadership Styles on the Organization, the author Bill Pirraglia, Demand Media, defines different leadership styles. In the end he states: “Leadership styles have strong effects on corporate culture because employees tend to act in ways that mirror their leaders. Staff also subconsciously wants to please supervisors and management. Over time, leaders and employees usually become “comfortable” with each other, which can cause some “culture friction” when new leaders take over. Every business, regardless of size, has a culture. It can help or hurt operations, often dependent on the strength and efficiency of leadership.” Bottom line, whether you are leading the company or looking to work for a company that will encourage, support and challenge you; the company culture is an important component to be considered.