- Misunderstandings
- Resistance to change
- Unhealthy competitiveness
- Conflicts
- Disengagement
- Underperforming teams
- Unethical behaviour
- Misconduct, harassment or discrimination
- Sky-high turnover

What a list!  None of the above are things we want to see happening in our organisation, but they do happen unfortunately, and are often symptoms of poor culture. The million dollar question is, of course, how do you fix it?

A ‘bandaid’ example would be the implementation of a rewards & recognition programme that celebrates and rewards company values lived out. In itself, it’s a positive step, and programmes like this ARE important. In fact, we frequently recommend them —here’s earlier blog I wrote that outlines some useful ideas for culture improvements, including rewards & recognition.

However, if you’ve got behavioural and deeper team cultural issues, then you need to address these before you implement any extras, or there will be no meaningful transformation.

Poor culture impacts

The effects of a bad or negative culture are undoubtedly challenging to deal with. When talking to business leaders about tackling these kinds of issues, I’ve heard a common refrain along the lines of ‘I am so tired of walking on eggshells’, and yes, it’s painful for EVERYONE in a workplace when the culture delivers this feeling; employees and leaders alike.

My response: “Yes, I get it—but are you up for following a journey of change, or do you want a quick fix?”

The longer journey

The programmes on leadership and team development that we offer have been carefully developed for businesses looking for real and impactful solutions for when there are negative culture issues presenting. The issues may not be as overt as my big, nasty list above (although they can be). Yet they are still evident, subtly undermining business results, holding back people, and teams within the organisation from engagement and high performance.

Like everything in work and life, there’s a multitude of different ways to approach the problem. At The People Place, here's how we do it.

We bring everything back to leadership.  

Yes, staff play their role in culture setting, but leaders are the stewards of the culture; and it’s their job to hold the organisation accountable to promoting a positive culture. The definition we use for leadership in all development programmes is: Leadership is influence over others. This can be positive or negative.

Simple as that.

All the work you do as a leader, all your interactions, they can either build towards influencing your people positively, and/or negatively. Through a specially designed coaching process we help leaders develop their self-awareness around how their ‘stuff’ is playing into the culture issues. We start here, because if this isn’t sorted, then you won’t see transformation. I acknowledge that this can be confronting to face.

Leadership Truths

As you gain more experience as a leader, typically you also gain more confidence.  In tension with this, you also gain more ego. That’s why self-leadership and character work become increasingly important, the further a leader progresses in their journey.

It is because of this dynamic that we don’t offer one or two day workshops—it’s just not enough time to allow for growth. Don't get me wrong; that kind of training format absolutely has its place!  But for culture and leadership, we don’t operate there. Instead, we like to get into the mess, the hard stuff. And from that place, we find a path through it. Along the road, the leaders we work with will pick up practical team leadership skills too, but the deeper personal transformational work is where the value is.

Imagine yourself HERE

If you are a business leader taking part in one of our programmes, you will come out of our coaching process with a powerful self-awareness that will empower you to choose how to act and lead. You’ll be more intentional in creating the culture you and your team need, in support of your business vision and mission.  

What a result.

Questions or comments? If you’d like to chat all things culture & leadership, get in touch. You can reach me on +64 9 300 7224 or email hello@thepeopleplace.co.nz