I talked in my previous column about the importance of trying to create a positive culture in an organisation and the flow on benefits this can have for productivity and innovation. There are a number of things which can create and drive this culture, but above all else, it is the attitude and actions of management which will determine the culture we get. In essence, how you handle being “the boss” will influence what sort of work environment your staff will work in. The saying “ruling class, ruling culture” is certainly true in this case.
So what sort of “boss” should we be in order to produce the very best culture in which our staff can thrive and grow?
Good Manager’s produce positive cultural results in a range of varying organisational contexts and environments, but they all seem to share the following key features:
- They are authentic – anyone who has dealt with dishonest sales people will quickly tell you how difficult it is having relations with people who are not the “real deal”. A manager who is genuine and acts consistently will create a similar expectation of trust and authenticity amongst staff.
- They have a clear vision and are able to articulate this for staff. No matter what area of work someone may be in, the good Manager can provide them with a clear sense of how useful their efforts are and the difference this is making to the organisation overall.
- They are positive – Not only do they look for solutions when confronted by the most challenging of circumstances but they encourage people around them to do the same. If you want to know why an organisation has a “can do” ethos, look no further than the people running it. This often flows on to recruitment practice in which great effort is made to find and keep people who have a high sense of personal empowerment and control.
- They are accessible – Managers who make a meaningful impact on the culture of an organisation are those who staff can talk with when they need to share thoughts and feelings. A closed-door policy from management will quickly breed a sense of suspicion and distrust; hardly great signposts to a positive culture!
- They are trusting – Good managers engender confidence by letting people get on with their jobs. That is not to say that they do not intervene where circumstances dictate, but in general terms they have faith in the ability of their team to get things done.
There are obviously also a lot of other factors which will impact on how your organisation operates, and the kind of environment it provides for staff, but consider the points above when you are looking at ways to ensure yours is a culture to be proud of.