- In a recent podcast discussion, workplace expert Drew Jones explained that leaders must create a nurturing environment that promotes mutual trust and respect.
- Having crystal clear core values is a fundamental part of shaping an organization’s behavior and guiding its decision-making processes.
- If you’re a leader or a manager in any organization, it’s important to cultivate and consistently embody your corporate values to create an authentic culture.
Are you struggling to create a meaningful and impactful organizational culture? Look no further.
In Allwork.Space’s recent Future of Work podcast, Drew Jones, an anthropologist and expert in workplace dynamics, explained the significance of leadership and core values in shaping culture.
With an exemplary reputation as a thought leader, and author, coupled with his keen understanding of design thinking, innovation, and workplace strategy, Jones is a well-respected expert on organizational culture with fantastic insight.
Here are Jones’ key points from our podcast conversation:
1. How to Determine Your Core Values
Before creating a culture, it’s crucial to define your organization’s core values. Having crystal clear core values is a foundational part of shaping an organization’s behavior and guiding its decision-making processes.
Essentially, core values are a set of principled guidelines that inform how a business operates, how it interacts with customers and the community at large, and even how it treats its own employees. By determining these values, an organization can create a driven, motivated work environment, fostering a supportive community that’s energized towards achieving common goals.
A thoughtful approach to this step might involve brainstorming sessions with key stakeholders, considering the needs and narrative of all people involved — internally and externally.
2. The Role of Leadership in Shaping Culture
Leadership inherently plays a critical role in shaping, preserving, and enhancing the culture of an organization.
“To create a thriving culture, we must create conditions for it to grow organically and fulfill people’s cultural needs,” Jones said.
Leaders set examples, they inspire, and they forge a path that the rest of the company follows. What’s crucial, though, is for leaders to uphold the right balance between being approachable and taking decisive action when needed. In the discussion, Jones explained that leaders must create a nurturing environment that promotes mutual trust and respect. He also said that leaders should aid the workforce to see opportunities in challenges and let them self-organize, which is key to growth and innovation.
“Innovation is not just a business growth issue, it is an HR issue,” he explained. “Stimulating cognitive challenge and out-of-the-box thinking is crucial for creating a culture of innovation.”
3. Consistency in Leadership is Extremely Important
Consistency is paramount when building trust and reliability within a team. It allows for effective communication, helps build your brand’s reputation, and motivates employees to perform their best. Moreover, consistency in your leadership fosters a sense of security and belonging among your team members — when they know what to expect, they can focus their energy on their work, furthering the goals of the organization.
Jones suggested that employees can feel cynical when leaders’ actions contradict their ideals, so a leader must consistently act according to their declared values. This consistency carves out a line of trust and respect between the leader and the team, reinforcing employee morale and dedication.
4. Creating a Strong and Authentic Organizational Culture
Understanding the core values of your business and portraying them consistently in your actions and decisions is the most important action leaders and managers can take to cultivate an authentic culture. A strong organizational culture can be the magnet that attracts the right talent, keeping them engaged and driven towards the company’s goals.
“Culture as a force in human evolution has been terribly underappreciated. It is the secret to our success as a species,” Jones said.
In the podcast conversation, Jones placed a massive emphasis on the authenticity and consistency of leadership. He underlined that organizations with leaders who walk their talk tend to have a more resilient and positive culture. Jones stressed that team members tend to lose trust in leaders when there’s a disconnection between what they preach and what they practice.
By understanding the importance of leadership and core values in creating a strong and authentic culture, these leaders can guide their teams and foster an environment that promotes engagement, productivity, and collaboration.
Why Creating a Clear Organizational Culture Matters
Insights from Jones make it evident that strong and consistent leadership where leaders represent the values they preach is fundamental to creating an organizational culture that embodies its own core values.
A specific example highlighted by Jones is within remote or hybrid work environments. Here, leadership and consistency in values can shape company culture where, despite distances, relationships and trust can be maintained. Look at companies like Automatic and GitLab, he suggested. He said these firms managed to keep strong cultural dynamics even in an entirely remote setup — a testament to the strength of their core values and the consistency of their leadership.
By delineating and living by these values, an organization can create a comprehensive culture that resonates with all its members. It creates a sense of belonging and homogeneity, making the workplace more conducive to productivity and innovation. Employees are motivated to do their best when they feel part of a larger, value-driven community, and they’re more likely to stay with a company whose core values align with their own personal beliefs.
An organization’s core values can become a selling point, attracting talented individuals who share the same fundamental philosophies to join the firm. Therefore, core values are more than just a set of guiding principles; they are the bedrock on which a supportive, effective, and ultimately successful organizational culture is built.
The steps outlined above — such as defining core values, leading by example, and aligning actions with values — are essential in achieving the desired result of creating a positive culture within the organization. With determination and commitment, leaders can transform their organizations into thriving and successful entities.