A good leader possesses a combination of qualities and skills; both of which need to inspire and lead others effectively. A good leader understands the traits that define their leadership style and acknowledges that how an organization is governed shapes the culture.
What is Culture?
Culture is the environment created within the walls of an organization, the values and behaviours that guide the interactions between employees, senior management, partners and customers. Culture is defined daily and every individual plays a role.
Since leadership plays such a crucial role in shaping and influencing an organization’s culture it’s important to understand the key attributes that make a good leader. We have not included an extensive list, however, here are a few of the attributes that we believe make a good leader and play a role in shaping a healthy corporate culture.
A good leader has a clear vision of what they want to achieve and can communicate that vision to their team. They have long-term perspective and can inspire others by providing a sense of direction and purpose. Have you ever sat at your desk and wondered what your company will look like in a year? This feeling of uncertainty impacts corporate culture negatively because it creates fear. To ensure employees feel job security it’s important for leadership to share the company vision and reinforce how it will act as a guide with supporting strategies and yearly plans.
Effective communication is essential for a good leader. They should be able to articulate their ideas clearly, actively listen to others, and provide feedback. Strong communication skills help build trust, resolve conflicts, and foster collaboration within the team. While effective communication is important, so is transparency and creating an environment where employees know they can share feedback with the leadership team (communication that goes both ways). There is nothing worse than a company update travelling around an organization by word-of-mouth when it should have been shared with everyone at the same time in an email or a full-team meeting.
Leaders with integrity are honest, ethical, and trustworthy. They lead by example, adhere to their values, make mistakes and demonstrate consistency in their words and actions. This builds credibility and nurtures a culture of trust and respect within the team. I think we can all agree that no matter the situation we all want to be told the truth. I’ve seen internal culture improve and teams rally around each other when challenging news has been delivered. When the facts are on the table a plan can be created together.
Leaders are often required to make tough decisions. A good leader can gather relevant information, analyze it objectively, and make timely decisions. They are confident in their choices and take responsibility for the outcomes. Leaders who encourage collaboration, seek diverse perspectives, and value employee input create a culture of inclusivity and empowerment. In contrast, leaders who make unilateral decisions without considering the opinions of others may create a culture of hierarchy and disengagement.
Leaders should be accountable for their actions and the outcomes of their team. They take ownership of their mistakes and learn from them. They also hold their team members accountable for their responsibilities, encouraging continuous improvement. Employees understand that they are expected to deliver results and take ownership of their work.
Recognition and Feedback
Leaders who provide regular feedback, recognize and appreciate the contributions of their employees, and celebrate achievements that contribute to a positive and supportive culture. Employees feel valued, motivated, and encouraged to perform at their best when their efforts are acknowledged by their leaders. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t feel valued when their boss says, “thank you for the great work!”
A good leader is committed to personal and professional growth. They seek opportunities for self-improvement and stay updated with industry trends. When leaders invest in training, mentorship, and professional development opportunities, it demonstrates a commitment to the growth and success of their employees, which in turn fosters a positive culture of learning and development.
Leadership alone cannot shape an organization’s culture entirely. Culture is the collective result of the actions, behaviors, and interactions of all individuals within an organization every day. However, leadership plays a critical role in setting the tone, establishing values, and fostering the desired behaviors that contribute to a healthy and positive organizational culture.
- Paige Sandvold is a Marketing Manager and Sarah Elchuk is a Product Consultant at Directwest