Leaders Set the Tone for the Culture – What’s Yours?
Have you ever walked into an establishment, no matter what type, and you instantly felt welcomed and comfortable? Likewise, have you ever walked into an establishment but felt turned off or that there was negative energy going on and couldn’t wait to get out of there fast enough? I have on both counts.
When I look at the environments that are created, or the culture of a business, it leads me back to the person in charge – the leader and how they set the tone for how that business is run as well as the tone they want to convey to not just their workers, but to customers as well. The feeling of the overall organization will trickle down to the departmental level, which then keeps trickling to the end-user. This then lends itself to the brand and how perceived by those entities.
A leader, through their ‘style’ and way they view their role, can be open, welcoming, and believe in their worker’s abilities to do to their job, thus empowering them; or, they can have a style that is punitive and looks at employees as ‘workers,’ who much achieve their numbers and goals, not really caring how or when. It all depends on how one’s perception of what a leader is and traits they possess and want to emulate. Yes, one who assumes a leader role actually gets to decide the type of leader they want to be.
Surprised? I don’t think most people who assume a leader role realize they get to decide what leadership style they want to use to get workers embracing the vision and mission set by the organization. There are many styles to choose from (most based off of research): skills approach, style approach, situational approach, contingency theory, path-goal theory, leader-member exchange, transactional, transformational, authentic, and the newest – servant leader style. Each of these view lead from a different frame which sets the tone for how systems and process are set up and how workers are embraced.
For example, situational leaders will vary their approaches based on the situation at hand, as different approaches are needed in differing situations. An authentic leader is based on a leader being real and genuine, working off of high values. A transformational leader works to know their people and focus on their emotions, values, ethics, motivations, and long-term goals and moving them to using those fully.
It is reliant on anyone in a leadership role, or who wants to move into one, to determine the type of leader they want to be: what are the specific traits you possess and want to convey; the values you want to pass on; how you want to be known for/as by followers; what type of overall tone you want to convey for your workers, i.e. open, relaxed, fun, inclusive, bureaucratic, and the like. Being a leader also applies whether you own your own business, as well as for yourself personally, as we are all leaders in some way, mainly the leaders of our lives.
If you are in a leader role, or desire to, I encourage you to evaluate your leader style and the tone you are setting in your environment. A nice caveat is that you can always amend any behaviors and skills needed to step into those leader shoes you desire and be the leader you envisioned.