In the last blog, I talked about emotional intelligence and its effect on the workplace and this week I wanted to discuss a leaders influence on organizational culture in the workplace.

Leaders have a huge influence on organizational culture. In fact, as leaders, they probably have more influence than they even realize, and sometimes this attribute can bite a leader in the back if one is not conscious of how your words and actions can impact others.

Before we dive into how to maximize organizational culture as a leader, let’s get a better understanding of how organizational culture is created.

Organizational Culture is created by four distinct methods in an organization:

  1. The actions and behaviors of leaders
  2. What leaders pay attention to
  3. What gets rewarded and what gets punished
  4. The allocation and attention of resources

According to Edgar Schein, organizational culture is comprised of behaviors, values, and beliefs.

Leaders observe employee behavior so they can understand the behaviors, values, and beliefs their workers commonly display and what influences employee behavior. When you look at results, organizational culture makes the difference because it has such a great effect on behavior.

To begin a strong culture starts with leadership. Leaders need to set an example first so that others can follow. As Mahatma Gandhi said ” Be the change, if you want to see the change”.

The culture of an organization, according to Scott Eblin, author of “The Next Level”, is highly connected to three levels of leadership presence:” Personal Presence” or the ability of the leader to self manage his actions in a positive manner; “Team Presence” where the skills of others are leveraged for maximum results; and “Organizational Presence” where the leader and team collaborate and engage each other and encourage idea generation under a big tent or “footprint”.

Within an organizational context, setting a purpose and guiding  everyone to move towards the same goal is one of the difficult tasks for the leader. Purpose should connect the job the employees are currently doing. Each and every employee should understand how their work fits into the overall purpose of the organization and how their work is important.