Build a Positive Culture

I’ve been writing a lot on leadership positivity. And with good reason: negativity impacts families, communities, institutions and workplaces. Turnover rises, projects fail to hit their goals, and productivity falls short of expectations. But it doesn’t have to be that way; you can build a positive culture.

An organization’s culture is an extension of its leader’s philosophy. Like it or not, the leader sets the example. They model the standards of thought and behavior. The leader’s philosophy is communicated through words, actions, policies and procedures. Gathering employees to inspire a culture shift has benefits, but nothing influences a following like the example set by the leader.

When this topic comes up with my coaching clients, I remind them of the importance of recognizing the values and expectations that are being communicated. Are you living positively and loving it?

If your culture encourages acceptance and discourages disinterest, positivity becomes the norm.

Positive behavior also builds with accountability. As Patrick Lencioni’s writes in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Jossey-Bass, 2002):

… I define accountability as the willingness of team members to remind one another when they are not living up to the performance standards of the group…Peer pressure and the distaste for letting down a colleague will motivate a team player more than any fear of authoritative punishment or rebuke.

The transition may be slow. Backsliding may occur after frustrations or crises arise. A trusted advisor, mentor or coach can help you maintain your focus and hold you accountable. Good outcomes are great motivators when positive approaches are used. Rely on this, especially in tough times.

Sometimes the example set by positive leaders requires difficult decisions that protect the organization from negative influences. For example:

  • Ineffective products or services may need to be discontinued.
  • Negative, damage-inflicting clients may need to be dismissed.
  • Stricter policies may need to be put in place to deal with conflict or detrimental behavior.
  • Toxic employees deserve the chance to be converted to positivity with the appropriate oversight and counseling. If they choose to remain negative, they may need to be replaced.

To build a positive culture you wear many hats: role model, cheerleader, guardian, coach, enforcer and rewarder. Together, they bring out the best in others.

What do you think? Are you building a positive culture? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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