Organisational culture is all about achieving results for your business. At Inside Motivation we don’t believe in working on culture to make employees happy, but luckily in high achieving, focused and engaged organisations, employees are normally happier.
The culture of your organisation has some outcomes directly associated with high performance (or the lack thereof). These relate to the individual and the way teams and the organisation work together; for example, motivation, role clarity and conflict, teamwork and inter-departmental coordination.
Culture is how we feel expected to behave when we are part of a group. Although it won’t define exactly how each of us behaves, it will have a significant impact on all members of the group. When members of an organisation feel under threat and need their security needs met they will be defensive. This can be either aggressive or passive defensive.
When employees are aggressive defensive their actions are all about making sure tasks get done without consideration for the other people involved, their ideas and contribution hence creating short term gains at the expense of long-term performance. This task performance protects them against the perceived threat.
Passive defensive employees work by making sure other people are kept happy with little attention to achieving goals.
Only when employees feel secure can they perform at their best, work together and achieve results.
One of the major impacts on culture is the leaders’ behaviour. Team members may perceive the leader as perfectionist or competitive.
This may drive inaction, with employees feeling unable to perform to their leader's standard. Alternatively, leaders focused on being liked will create a culture of confusion and frustration with employees wanting to act but not quite knowing what to do.
In great cultures, all leaders are clear about what need to be achieved, true to their beliefs and supportive of employees and teams.
If leaders are behaving well, what is so important about their thinking? If we think constructively our actions will follow naturally. Not only will leaders be constructive in the heat of the moment, but others will perceive them as authentic, caring about both their people and the organisation’s goals.
If we work with leaders to build an understanding of the four constructive styles below and coach them in these ways of thinking we create better leaders and better culture.
But don’t forget, our culture will in turn impact our leaders' thinking!
Structures not only the org chart, but the mechanisms at work within our business. For example, our mission and values, ways we reward or potentially punish our people, our authority levels, training and development, job design and a whole lot more.
Often these were established by the leaders of the past and we don’t revisit them to ensure they act to bring our organisation to our desired culture.
Achievement is all about focusing on the goal. It avoids politics and helps us to work together towards the same outcome. It’s all about enthusiastically working on challenging tasks for the satisfaction of getting them done!
We strive to be the best that we can be, as an organisation and as individuals. People are expected to show integrity and to look for better ways of doing things. Even simple tasks get done well.
Not only do we need to recognise and reward each other’s good performance but we need to support each other to get better. Helping each other to learn when something goes wrong, being positive about improvement. Involving people in decisions which affect them is critical to maximising our performance.
Signs of an affiliative organisation are friendliness, being open and honest with each other and treating people as more important than things. On the surface these do not appear linked to performing as an organisation, however they form the basis of trust. Without trust organisations are uncomfortable places to work, they are slow to make decisions and tend to pull in different directions.