What kind of culture is your leadership style promoting?
Are you aware of what kind of a leader you are, or what leadership style you display at work? Leaders are an integral part of an organisation’s culture because they have the ability to influence the culture that the organisation adopts.
When we talk of organisational cultures, we mention strong, innovative, positive or even toxic cultures. An organisation’s culture is shaped by the way people in an organisation interact with each other or simply by their way of doing things. A culture is something that is learned, not necessarily as a result of organisational operations.
Communicating behavioural expectations
As a leader, you may find yourself wishing that the people in your organisation behaved in a certain way. However, if you don’t show people how to behave, they will pick habits from you, their leader, as well as from each other. Leaders with the intention of fostering a certain culture go into measures to ensure they communicate enough their behavioural expectations. For example, Amazon is so invested in having an innovative culture that one of their leadership principles is ‘learn and be curious’. Amazon founder and CEO displays this by always seeking opportunities to improve himself and the organisation and exploring new possibilities. Your leadership style influences how people treat each other, and how they behave in situations. Here, we look at different leadership styles and the kind of culture they promote.
A democratic leader that seeks the opinions of others in decision-making encourages a participative culture. Such a leader is willing to be open and frank about discussions. As a result, a culture that is open and welcoming to different ideas is created. This form of culture creates a form of ownership in employees as they feel that their ideas and opinions contribute to decisions made, hence making them feel like an integral part of the organisation.
A transformational leader has a place in modern day organisations. This is because this kind of leader takes interest in empowering employees so that they achieve their personal goals while working towards achieving organisational goals as well. Such a leader promotes a versatile, innovative culture that feels empowered enough to try new things, welcome change and is not afraid to create new ideas, fail and try again.
Authentic leadership is another desirable modern day leadership styles. This kind of leader is comfortable with his emotions, possesses emotional stability and uses this to create a trusting relationship with the employees. When the people in the organisation see that their leader is open, genuine and trustworthy, they open up too and as a result, a trusting culture is developed. This is an especially important form of culture in care-related industries where integrity and trust some of the most important traits that customers look for.
Negative styles of leadership
On the other side of the coin, a dictatorial leader who is also abrupt, harsh in their approach, and insecure will hardly welcome other people’s opinions and is more likely to treat others in a patronising manner. As a result, employees develop a culture of mistrust, putting each other down and unhealthy competition develops. Such a culture can be very toxic whereby everyone is pushing their way forward without minding that they step on the feet of others. It is very difficult to form functional teams in such a culture since they lack what it takes to create team cohesiveness. In the long run, this type of culture can be very damaging to the organisation because there is no unity towards achieving long term goals.
Conclusively, it is important that every leader understands their style of leadership and observes to learn how this style reflects on their organisational culture. If you are not pleased with the culture in your organisation at the moment, the first place to look for a solution should be on your behaviour as their leader.