Workplace culture can have a significant effect on employee fulfillment, productivity, and overall success. As a leader or people manager, it is essential to comprehend how your actions and decisions affect the organization’s culture. By fostering a positive and supportive workplace culture, you can assist your team in thriving and achieving their goals.

The performance and effectiveness of a company’s leaders are the ultimate differentiators, as I explain in Chapter 10 of my new Wall Street Journal bestseller, Culture Is the Way. Particularly when focusing on developing, shaping, and driving cultural excellence. Although there are many factors that contribute to shaping workplace culture, there is no doubt that it begins with leaders paving the way and setting the standard.

Understand the Importance of Workplace Culture

At its core, workplace culture is characterized by large-scale behavior. It is essential to organizational excellence. The core. The energy. It is at the forefront for leaders who want to improve performance and strategic alignment. Workplace culture is the heart and soul of any organization. Regardless of what a leader claims their workplace culture is, the determining factor is the collective mindsets, repeated efforts and actions, and consistent results experienced within and outside the organization.

Employee engagement, output, and retention can all benefit from a positive workplace culture, while high turnover, low morale, and low output are potential consequences of a toxic work environment. As a leader, you must recognize the importance of cultivating a positive and supportive work environment for your team and take action to do so. It takes time and effort, but one of the most important things a leader can do is build a productive and positive workplace culture. When the culture changes for the better, everything else benefits.

Lead by Example

Leading the charge is one of the most important ways for leaders to shape workplace culture. This entails modeling the attitudes and behaviors you want to see in your team. If you want your team to prioritize coaching, for example, make sure you are actively coaching others and encouraging team members to do the same. You can create a culture that supports and then adopts the values and behaviors you want to see in your team by demonstrating those values and behaviors. One of the most prominent problems when it comes to strengthening or changing workplace culture is leaders declaring a course of action without backing it up with their actions. I’ve seen this happen thousands of times in real time.

Everything leaders do, from how they treat others to how they behave and think, quickly circulates within the four walls of an organization, whether they are aware of it or not.

Recognize and Reward Positive Behaviors

In addition to modeling and leading by example, leaders should recognize and reward positive behaviors in their team members. It is critical to catch others doing the right thing when building workplace culture. Why bother recognizing behaviors team members should be doing is a dangerous but often adopted perspective among leaders. During my football career, the best coaches I ever had were tough on me and consistently challenged me, but even the smallest details would be recognized and called out when I did something right. Especially if they were trying to break a bad habit. This not only increased my self-confidence over time, but it also made me more susceptible to tougher coaching and accountability.

The act of simply saying thank you or giving a shout-out in a group setting can go a long way toward encouraging and rewarding positive actions. It may also include more formal recognition programs, such as employee of the month awards or bonuses for team members who exemplify workplace culture standards in exceptional ways. By recognizing and rewarding positive behaviors, leaders can reinforce the values and behaviors they desire to see in their team and foster an environment of positivity and excellence.

Do you want to find out more about building a world-class culture? Get a copy of my new book, Culture Is the Way. You will learn a five-step process for building an organization for speed, impact, and excellence.