Whose Job is it Anyways?
A leader’s role in building organizational culture
By Catherine Germinario
“What’s the culture like here?”
If you look up “best questions to ask during an interview” on Google, you’ll most-likely run into a question like the one above. And lucky for the candidate, the responses are usually the same – fun-loving, encouraging, hard-working – but what does all that really mean? In short, not much.
Organizational culture is reflected in consistent attitudes and behaviors across the organization through the way the workforce interacts with each other. A strong company culture has a direct impact on productivity, engagement, and morale.
Many organizational leaders are under the impression that culture builds itself, or that as long as the company is succeeding, the talent will support each other. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. As a leader, you are responsible for building your organizational culture. But how?
- Define it
Gather your organization together and ask them what they value in their workplace. Keep them engaged and really dig into the qualities they’re looking for in their colleagues. This is a great way to make sure there is synergy and buy in to hold the team accountable.
- Hire it
Don’t push those defined characteristics to the wayside. Hire by them and communicate them to your team, new and old. It’s crucial to weed out people who would negatively disrupt the culture and bring people with the same values to the organization.
- Integrate it
Build your culture Identify into the team’s daily agenda: connect your culture to your espoused values; dedicate time in meetings specifically highlighting how people are embodying the culture; and build it into your bylaws and policies.
- Live it
As a leader, your organization looks to you as an example, so you should embrace the qualities you want them to embody. If you’re trying to become a “coaching culture” then act like a coach – encourage them, develop them, and ask them questions that challenge their critical thinking skills.
As a leader, you should take ownership of your organization’s culture, do your research, and figure out what culture will help your team succeed.
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Over the past few years, Catherine gained experience ranging from human resources and program administration to the heart of any business, sales, and marketing. She quickly moved into multiple training and management roles, creating training material, building processes, and spearheading women-in-sales focus groups. At Optify, she focuses her efforts on business development and marketing campaigns as a thought leader to continue to expand outreach.
Catherine holds a Masters of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Christopher Newport University with minors in Leadership and Communications. Catherine was also an avid member of the President’s Leadership Program and recipient of the Joann S. Squires Award for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2018.