Toxic, siloed, suspicious, cynical.
Gossip, infighting, competition, apathy.
When these words characterize a workplace, it’s only a matter of time before top talent begins to devise an exit strategy. When these ideas describe the environment, it’s unlikely that goals are being met or that the mission is moving forward. There’s too much sideways energy. Wheels are spinning, but no progress is taking place.
But a team culture does not become toxic overnight. Rather, a pattern of inconsistency, a willingness to compromise or a lack of clarity–seemingly insignificant decisions– cause a drift that, if left uncorrected, can lead far away from the intended result.
Why Culture Matters
Culture is the bridge from the vision and mission of your organization to the tactics and strategies you utilize to achieve that mission. It’s the people who make up your team and the behaviors that characterize how you work together. Your team culture is the linchpin of success.
As with healthy things and the laws of nature, when you intentionally cultivate healthy culture, it yields positive results.
4 Things a Great Culture Gets You
Healthy team culture fosters appreciation for the strengths and experiences of all team members and draws them together for the good of the mission. It diminishes selfish ambition because the overarching win is achieved through shared effort, and therefore belongs to everyone.
2. Surpassed Expectations
Though it may seem trite, the reason that ”exceeds expectations” is the top mark on performance reviews is that every leader wants a team that does so. Healthy team cultures are built upon a clearly-communicated and compelling vision. When the team members “catch” it, they will go above and beyond the call of duty to achieve it.
When individuals are seen, valued, and rewarded for their contributions, they will invest themselves personally in the good of the organization. This builds trust and loyalty which produce even greater strength to endure adversity together.
Healthy teams don’t shy away from accountability because they realize the benefit of continued improvement. They’ll own their wins and their losses more honestly when they are a part of a healthy environment.
As leaders, one of the biggest contributions we make to our teams is setting the culture–creating it, embodying it, communicating it, and protecting it. It can only be done intentionally, and it must be at the top of our priority list if we want collaborative, excellent, enthusiastic, and accountable teams.
A great starting point for building a great culture is defining the values that clarify who you are and how your team works together.
Equip your team to make better decisions
Ensure alignment throughout the organization
Help you achieve your mission
Keep leading well, friends!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group