Leadership Speaker Tips: Improving an Organisational Culture

By July 15, 2020August 28th, 2020No Comments
company meeting with employees taking notes on a table Jahan Kalantar leadership speaker journals about organisational culture

Work takes up a notable amount of time from working adults. Ideally, people should stay at a job that makes them feel happy and fulfilled. Work environment and culture play significant roles in ensuring a pleasant experience at work. The happier the employees, the more productive they are, and the longer they stay with the company. But what can leaders and managers do if team motivation levels are consistently low? Any leadership speaker understands that developing a healthy organisational culture can do wonders to a company.

What is Organisational Culture?

What is organisational culture? It is the beliefs, assumptions and values defining the unique social and psychological environment of a company. These three things are reflected on the way each member of the organisation interacts with each other. 

The organisational culture is also defined by the company’s expectations, goals, experiences and philosophy. Needless to say, the environment in the company is greatly affected by the written and unwritten guidelines in the workplace.

Effects of Organisational Culture to Productivity

If your company culture does not promote a healthy working environment or if it does not promote productivity, it can decrease your team’s morale. For instance, if a workplace is toxic where people are punished for speaking up about a mistake, then people are encouraged to hide an issue until it’s too difficult to resolve. Of course, this issue will result in bigger problems which will take up time and manpower to resolve. So instead of focusing on more company output, the team will have to deal with the problem first.

Another example of unhealthy organisational culture is crab mentality culture. Crab mentality is when instead of bringing each other up, people bring their peers down. This culture may not exactly be due to written company guidelines, but a result of the standards set in the workplace.

Crab mentality culture can develop in an extremely competitive workplace. There is such a thing as too much when it comes to competition. Competitions are great when people know their limits, they enjoy the process of learning through contests and if the individuals involved are good sports. However, if the organisational culture sets the bar too high for competitiveness, then people will inevitably try to bring others down so they can move up.

Inversely, crab mentality culture can also develop in a workplace where people are trying to set the bar low AND keep it low. Productivity is punished, not by the company but by the employees themselves. For instance, if efforts to productivity create tension with work peers, productive people are discouraged to continue their attempts to prevent bad blood with the rest of the group.

Influence of Leaders on the Improvement of Organisational Culture

The leaders of an organisation have a powerful influence on a company’s culture. As mentioned previously, there are written and unwritten guidelines in a company. Of course, employees must follow the written guidelines religiously, but the unwritten rules mostly come from the tone set by leaders of the workplace. They can either create a culture where people are afraid of breaking the rules or a culture where people enjoy following the rules. 

Here are some things that a good leader should do to improve organisational culture:

Create and establish meaningful values.

The values set by leaders serve as guides for everyone in the workplace. It defines how each member of the organisation should act and interact with one another. Values also guide employees when communicating with customers and the community.

Not only should leaders set meaningful values, but they should also communicate and establish them. Each member of the organisation should understand the behaviour associated with each value. 

Empower each member of the organisation.

Leaders can improve organisational culture by empowering each member of the workplace. If people receive the right information, tools and support– they flourish. An empowering culture creates a healthy environment where employees feel comfortable asking for resources to improve their company performance. This setting encourages members of the organisation to increase productivity.

Coach employees. 

Coaching does not need to be formal. You have to admit that formal meetings regarding your performance sound like a nerve-wracking experience. Leaders can casually give feedback to employees so that they understand what they need to improve. Keep in mind that informal feedback must be timely, fair and balanced to avoid conflict or misunderstandings.

Give credit where credit is due.

Good leaders understand that recognition is one of the best ways to show appreciation. By simply giving credit where credit is due, leaders can reinforce positive habits and drive engagement.

Leaders should also understand that people process information in different ways. Some people like to hear praises, some like to see the appreciation and some like to experience the recognition. Each employee is different and it helps to know which form of recognition works best in motivating them.

Hold employees accountable for their actions.

A healthy organisational culture is not only about happiness and comfort, but it is also about responsibility. A fun workplace is great, but if leaders don’t hold people accountable for mistakes then it creates an unhealthy workplace.

The fact that people are not called out when they don’t commit to the company goals will frustrate high-performing employees. For instance, they worked hard to complete their tasks for that week only to find out that there are no consequences if they don’t. This will result in reduced efforts and reduced productivity.

Leaders should prepare themselves for tough conversations with team members. Anyone who does not commit to the company values and goals should be held accountable.  


Organisational culture plays an important role in the workplace. Leaders have the power to develop or improve a healthy workplace for each one of their team members. Trust is the foundation of most healthy relationships and it is the core of great workplace culture. It is every leader’s responsibility to hone a culture of trust in the organisation.

If you can build trust in your team, then you can transform your culture. But of course, it takes time. Create genuine work-relationships where your people understand the values of the company and where they feel empowered for staying on track. Remind employees that their efforts are appreciated, but also remind them that they are accountable for their actions. 

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