Values live in the realm of the invisible therefore many of us struggle to get the employees (and ourselves) to become the living example of our stated values. Executives are often discouraged several months after a strategy session when they realize that the work of designing a culture based on values is more difficult than anticipated.
Building a values-based culture begins with two requirements: Communication and capacity.
Many factors contribute to unwanted turnover: A poor relationship between supervisor and employee; a toxic work culture; dissatisfaction with the job; and employee-peer drama.
All of these issues have one thing in common: Connection. Connection creates trustworthiness, loyalty, and a sense of ownership. Connection is a key building block to a great culture. Relationships crumble and relationships erode when there is a lack of connection.
Workplace culture is shaped from the top down. One of the costliest mistakes to organizations is the inability or unwillingness of its leaders to successfully facilitate difficult conversations. The difficulty may lie in the manager’s skill level. He or she simply doesn’t know how to coach an employee on a performance issue. Or a leader may be embarrassed to talk with an employee about careless social skills. Or the difficulty may be a more complex cultural issue that goes unseen until the problem becomes national news.
As people across the world watch the 2016 United States presidential campaign, they witness the division and ultimately a culture change evolving in our nation.
We have more choices to express our opinions, but less tolerance for the opinions of others. We have more passion, but less compassion. We have more speed, but less self-control. We want even more freedoms but are unwilling to take responsibility.
As a supervisor or mid-level manager in a global company, you may not have the power to shape the entire culture, but you do have the power to shape culture in your department, local office, or workplace. It is not a question of whether or not you shape culture, but whether you shape culture consciously or unconsciously. The way you speak, the language you use, and the behaviors you exhibit influence the culture whether you are aware of it or not. When obvious signs emerge that indicate workplace drama, such as absenteeism, turnover, negativity or low morale, the leader can start to shift culture by changing language and behaviors. Here are some snapshots along with the behavior and a communication example to help you shape culture and improve business results.