How a Well-Thought Out Leadership Strategy Creates Better Cultures

A great work environment is the result of a great leadership strategy. The culture in any company is created by the intelligent and thoughtful management of the organization. When staffers are friendly, proactive, have goals of productivity and make others feel warm and accepted it is the direct result of excellent leadership.

Whereas, if a company environment is staffed by angry, frustrated and continually agitated people who gossip and mistrust one another it is the result of sub-par and extremely poor leadership.

The latter company culture probably has a huge attrition rate of employees unless because of our economy they stay because they don’t think they can find another job. In that case productivity will suffer, people will be worn out, tired and unhappy, which also invites lots of people taking time off because their work environment can also make them physically ill.

In either case, the company culture is in direct relation to the quality of the leadership.

Great Cultures Come from Great Leaders
Years ago when I actually worked a job, I can recall several companies that were a chore to work with each and every day. They had little or no leadership, just bosses who did everything they could to make sure someone had a miserable day just to make themselves feel better and give them that little power boost that told them they were important.

A great leader has an ‘open-door’ policy when it comes to subordinates they take lots of time and investment to hold themselves to a higher standard and without being aggressive, makes sure the staff desires to hold themselves to that same level of competence and performance each day.

Great leaders learn the names of their employees and they greet them as they pass in the hallways, lunch room or conference rooms. When an employee performs well on a project or task the leader takes the time not only to recognize it but may present a certificate of excellence or even a financial reward.

When an employee is not performing well and/or is making mistakes or slacking off, a great leader will not shame or embarrass them but instead will give them counsel along with retraining if that is possible.

In essence, a great leader is the heart and soul of the work environment and the company culture.

Work Environments that Leave Much to be Desired
It takes as much effort to create a poor, negative work environment and company culture as it does a positive one, so why not go for greatness?

When the ‘fearless leader’ of a company has ‘left the building,’ is unavailable both physically and mentally, has too many irons in the fire including reports, business trips, projects, budgets, you name it, they are not the picture of even a good leader. They are mediocre at best.

The humanity of the corporate culture must be attended to each and every day. Employees and customers alike take time and focus from a great leader instead of “stuff.”

The staffers will model their leader and may be arrogant, uncaring, rude and unavailable. Unfortunately, the “me” mentality will replace the team vision and mentality and sabotage and lack of caring will bring a company to its knees very rapidly.

When there is a lack of caring about co-workers and customers it shows to everyone on the outside. A cohesive company culture is non-existent and revenues will suffer as well as any employee who does care about doing a good job.

Eventually, they will leave if they can and all that will be left is a group of whiny, self-centered cry babies.

The self-absorbed leader may soon be forced to begin looking for other employment as the owners or board of directors becomes aware of the hostile work environment, lack of performance and a downturn in revenue.

Poor leaders are the ones who never know the names of employees and don’t really care. There is never eye contact unless they are berating someone. Should any employee do something exceptional there will probably be no recognition or reward because the poor leader simply expects everyone to do their job and don’t expect anything more than a paycheck.

Negative vibes occur when the poor leader finds out someone did something wrong or didn’t perform well on a project and fail to act appropriately.

Instead of a private counseling session, they would probably yell at them in front of the whole office and order them to clean out their desk and leave. In such a negative work environment, even the best employees soon lower their expectations and join the gang of slackers and mediocrity.

Are You a Great Leader or a Poor Leader?
Do you respect your employees and show them you care who they are, how they feel and get to know them on a personal level?

When they outperform others do you openly congratulate them and present them with a prize for excellence?

Are your staffers on board with your believe in a higher level of job performance and do they understand it is expected?

Is your staff happy and eager to come to work? How often do you hold company events like parties or picnics?

You can demand respect and at the same time be someone who your staffers admire and choose to emulate.

Be the Leader You’d Want to Have Lead You
It’s never too late to create a dynamic and successful company culture. Whatever mistakes you’ve made in the past can be fixed.

Imagine the surprise when you announce all the new changes that will make your company a place where applications are piling up from people who have heard about your company and can’t wait to be hired.

Below are a few tips you may consider should you desire to improve the working environment of your company.

  • Sit down and make a detailed assess of yourself and your company team so you can determine where any weaknesses might be hiding that are keeping you from creating that positive culture and work environment.
  • Create a battle plan to improve what is not working and figure out how to take yourself and team to a higher level of production in small increments until you have the big picture fleshed out first in your mind, then put it in action.
  • Invite your team to get involved in the planning and make sure to allow them to make suggestions for improvement. You may be surprised to find someone or several people who have brilliant ideas that could turn your company into one of power and super-performance.
  • Be the role model of the exact company culture you’d like to see come to fruition.
  • Make sure your plans include long-term ideas that will be permanent not just some new “program of the week.”
  • Never, ever compromise your ethics or expectations of creating a culture of success.
  • Make it understood that incompetence and sub-par performance will not be tolerated or excused. Keep note of any team member who is not on board with the plan and don’t allow them to get off message. If they are worthy of taking your time to counsel them on how to perform at the expected level, then give them that time.

By improving on the atmosphere and working conditions within your company you can implement your leadership strategy and find yourself at the helm of an outstanding company others begin to notice and emulate.

About the author

Richard M Krawczyk Known as "Mr. Blueprint", Richard M Krawczyk is a human potential expert, bestselling author, motivational keynote speaker, and business strategist. He is the founder of Success Now International - a personal and business development training and consulting company. You can find him on Google+ , Twitter and LinkedIn. Richard is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan and an avid supporter of Drum Corps International - a non-profit youth activity.

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  • Megan McNeill

    Thanks Richard, great leadership insights. Love this: “It takes as much effort to create a poor, negative work environment and company culture as it does a positive one, so why not go for greatness?” In fact, go the extra mile! As you say, be the leader that you’d like to have leading you.

    The firm I work for just published our most popular leadership insights from 2012 here:

    Would love to hear your thoughts and additions to this list.

  • John Knights

    It may sound strange but get the culture right and the strategy will follow –
    because everyone will participate and buy-in.

    A well thought out leadership strategy has to include understanding the ideal culture of an organisation as well as the actual. There are tools to help move this process forward such as a Culture Survey [bias alert – this is our LeaderShape one:

    Before developing your strategy, find out the ideal culture for your organisation – from the people who work there. Take the decision to move towards the ideal culture and the strategy will be easier to design and implement.

    Follow me: @LeaderShapeJohn