One Thing Some Leaders Don’t Accept About Culture

When it comes to culture, I have worked in many companies, and also seen many cultures where the cultures have been less than optimal, and in some cases, they have been toxic.

In each of those companies, I have also seen the leaders come out and complain about these cultures, criticizing them, consigning them and saying that the culture needs to change.

But this ignores one of the key influences on culture, which is the leadership themselves.

I have rarely seen these leaders accept that they have contributed to the situation, or that they are any way accountable for the culture. They often blame others for the situation in which they find themselves.

One boss I worked for constantly complained about the blame culture we had in the company, and he constantly demanded this was fixed. Yet he was the worst, he not only condoned the situation through his actions, but he was also the first to look for who was to blame, and constantly criticized people in public, even though often they were not at fault.

Another boss was unhappy at the level of accountability that was practiced, yet he constantly looked to side step his own accountability and consistently failed to meet the commitments that he had made.

The reality is leadership defines culture.

People look to the leadership for their role models, for guides on how to behave. This goes for everything accountability, punctuality, sexual discrimination, etc., etc., if the boss practices these then the rest of the team will feel comfortable to follow suit.

The leader sets the tone for whats acceptable. This is true for both positive traits as well as the negative traits mentioned above.

I had the pleasure of working for one boss who was very quick to close down any kind of discrimination and practiced diversity and inclusion. This quickly showed those who felt this was ok, that it wouldn’t be tolerated by him, and it also gave courage to others to speak out when they see it.

As a leader, if you don’t like the culture that exists in your organization, you must understand your role in it, and your ability to address it.

You cannot delegate the creation of the culture; you can only live, show and walk the culture that you want to have in your organization.