Managers Significantly Influence a Company’s Culture

In the ever-evolving landscape of organizational dynamics, one constant remains — the profound impact managers wield in shaping and sustaining a vibrant company culture. While companies often articulate values at the enterprise-wide level, the daily interactions between managers and team members bring these values to life.

Setting the Tone for a Healthy Culture

Managers serve as the conduits between organizational values and day-to-day workplace interactions. How they communicate, make decisions, and engage with team members sets the tone for the entire organization. These interactions directly influence the health of the corporate culture, as managers have the power to reinforce shared values by embodying them in their behaviors.

Storytime

There is no need to learn every lesson firsthand. What can you take from this story and use to become an even more effective manager-leader?

Open Communications

Abigail had been part of a workplace where open communication was encouraged and ingrained in the company’s DNA. Her former company, where she spent years honing her skills and building relationships, prided itself on transparent dialogue and a culture of trust. However, the winds of change arrived when another organization acquired her employer, bringing a set of values seemingly at odds with the open and communicative atmosphere to which Abigail had grown accustomed.

As the merger and acquisition unfolded, uncertainty loomed over the employees. Rumors circulated about potential workforce reductions, leaving many anxious about the fate of their jobs. It was during this turbulent period that Abigail received a call from an executive of the acquiring company. In an unusual move, this executive reassured Abigail that her position was secure amidst the planned organizational changes. She encouraged Abigail to reach out if she had any questions or concerns.

Vanishing Open Communications

Accustomed to the open communication culture of her former workplace, Abigail took the initiative and promptly called the executive to seek clarification and discuss the implications of the acquisition. However, what transpired next caught Abigail off guard. Instead of engaging in a direct conversation, the executive bypassed her and sought information from Abigail’s manager, who was unaware of the initial invitation to open communication.

This miscommunication created uncertainty. Initially relieved by the executive’s assurance, Abigail now questioned the sincerity behind the words. The disconnect between the executive’s promise and subsequent actions introduced an element of doubt and caution. What was a straightforward and reassuring interaction initially turned into a “proceed with caution, wait and see” approach for Abigail.

Reflect – Repair – Restore

Navigating through the uncertainty, Abigail and her management team worked diligently to bridge the communication gap and establish a foundation of trust. It took time, effort, and a concerted commitment to rebuilding the lines of communication. Gradually, a mutual understanding emerged, allowing everyone to move forward productively.

While Abigail and her management eventually succeeded in fostering trust, the initial disconnect highlighted the fragility of workplace culture during times of change. The energy expended on rebuilding trust was a reminder that, even in the face of new corporate structures, maintaining open communication and transparency is paramount to sustaining a healthy organizational culture.

Why Manager-Direct Report Interactions Matter

The significance lies in the ripple effect. Team members share their experiences, positive or negative, with their peers. A manager’s actions and communication style can either strengthen or weaken the fabric of the organizational culture. Understanding this, managers must be mindful of their influence and strive to create a positive, engaging environment.

The Power to Shape Culture

As a manager, you possess the power to shape the culture within your team. You contribute to a workplace where trust, collaboration, and open communication flourish by consistently aligning your actions with the organization’s values. This alignment benefits the organization and creates a positive and fulfilling work experience for your team members.

Creating a Win-Win-Win Scenario

Engaged team members contribute to a lighter workload, increased productivity, and a more positive work atmosphere. By investing in positive interactions and reinforcing shared values, you contribute to a culture that benefits the organization, your team, and yourself.

In conclusion, let’s never underestimate the impact of our roles as managers in shaping the culture we desire. Through our daily actions and interactions, we mold an environment where each team member can thrive, contributing to the success and well-being of the organization.

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Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and women’s leadership strategist. Her leadership program, Maximize Her LeadershipSM, guides women in bringing together their talents, strengths, and executive presence to experience a thriving career.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.