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What Makes Leaders Choose to Develop a Leadership Culture?

Develop a Leadership Culture

Have you ever been on a dysfunctional team? Do you remember what it was like to be on that team?

You likely found yourself on one of two extremes. On one side of the coin lies a culture of command and control. Compliance is the bedrock of this culture. It runs on a "my way or the highway" mentality. This approach to leadership is ineffective and inefficient in meeting modern challenges. Team members feel more like tools or assets than actual human beings. They leave, looking for a more people-first team.

On the other side lies a culture of conflict avoidance and comfort. These cultures are stuck in the land of the status quo. Change requires difficult conversations, and these cultures have no room for that. Resentment will grow beneath the surface. People leave because there's no reason to expect anything to change.

These two extremes, which aren't all that extreme, are illustrated below:

In the middle of the illustration, we see a culture that lives according to the new pillars of leadership. We call these the 5 C's of Healthy Cultures!

The 5 C's of Healthy Cultures

1. Care

People will not buy into your ideas until you buy into them. You must care enough to know the stories of your team. Know the pain. Know the joy. Know the failure. Know the success. World-class teams never win unless they build a chemistry of care for one another.

2. Clarity

Clarity comes from a sense of purpose. Most leaders do not know their purpose. The most recent generations entering the workforce are hungry for leaders that know where they're going and the "why" that's driving them there. Communicate this early and often with your team. Clarity comes from answering those questions of "where" and "why" for your team.

3. Collaboration

Most organizations don't have collaboration. They have wasted idea moments. Septic organizations overreact. They fight collaboration, feedback, and accountability. World-class leaders are not "yes" people. World-class teams seek diversity of opinion and robust discussion. What separates these teams from all the rest? It's how they make decisions. It's how they solve problems. They do this by collaborating effectively and efficiently to reach the best outcomes.

4. Consistency

Leadership always starts with self-reflection, self-responsibility, and self-awareness. We all know it's easy to talk the talk. It's easy to have values written on a plaque on the wall, but how well are you living these values? Are they guiding your decision-making processes? Do they hold up your culture?

How do you handle it when you or someone else breaks one of these values? Is it addressed at all? Is it treated as a "gotcha" moment? Or is it an opportunity for positive accountability?

5. Commitment

"With great power comes great responsibility!" The same goes for this list. Healthy cultures must perform. With a voice comes responsibility. It is challenging to balance the tension between care and performance, but it is possible! If your team doesn't feel safe, they will enter "kid" mode. Treat your people like adults and create an environment that asks the "kid" to leave the room.


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