Today I want to share with you the most important things you need to know as a leader when it comes to creating a strong and positive team culture, but before I do, let’s just talk about what team culture is anyway.
Webster defines culture as: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. Other Google searches I found went on to summarize, it’s how people work together towards a common goal and how they treat each other.
The interesting thing about culture is that it’s a difficult concept to grasp because it’s usually something unspoken and unwritten. It isn’t something tangible, and it also isn’t something that happens overnight; culture is something that takes time to build, and it all centers around the individuals who make the whole.
Culture is created by people, so when it comes to a positive or a negative team culture what is it that makes them different and how can we as leaders make sure sure we’re building a strong, positive team culture where team members are encouraged to collaborate, share knowledge and best practices, communicate clearly, and most importantly, support one another. Research shows that what sets a positive team culture apart from a negative one is a culture centered on creating TRUST.
When a culture is strong, trust exists and people will do the right thing. Thus creating an autonomous environment. People feel supported and know that someone has their back they’re able to do great things. It’s like having a safety net that allows you to ask questions, have confidence, speak up and take on a challenges.
Just some industry averages from corporate America on team cultures that are built on trust
- 60% of people have more job enjoyment
- 70% of people alignment more with the company purpose
- 66% of people feel more connection with their teammates
- And 40% of people experience less burnout
Strong culture = Trust = Autonomy + Efficiency
So if the most important thing for building a strong team culture is trust, what can we do as leaders to impact the trust on our teams?
Here are (3) ways:
1) Creating a safe place
One of the best ways to help people feel included is to actually discuss their needs, wants and concerns, not with the purpose to talk or to help, but to genuinely listen. This goes back to the adage- people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. So as leaders when we’re able to truly listen to our team, we’re able to create a safe place where people are able to openly be heard.
- Be authentic:
As leaders one of the biggest challenges can be the idea of thinking that we need to show up perfectly, but this can more often than not damage trust. Instead, if our team knows we’ve messed up or that things aren’t going well for us, this helps to normalize challenges and setbacks. This also builds trust because they’re able to see that as leaders, we struggle too, but we’re also still able to get back up again, show up, and do the work in spite of challenges and setbacks which encourages them and shows that they can do it too, doing the stuff anyway. So being authentic really allows us to begin to create that safe space, not only in the good stuff when everyone is winning, but also getting real when stuff is hard.
2) Empowering people
This really comes down to being able to help our team develop their skills- getting better at the things that are hard for them. In turn, they’re able to build critical thinking skills, and begin to have the tools and confidence to solve their own problems instead of being the super hero or doing it for them.
What this does for people is help them feel seen and heard. We all want to receive genuine praise that makes us feel that who we are and what we are doing matters. Not only does recognition have an impact on how people perform, but it also impacts the overall performance of your team. Leaders who make a point of showing recognition and offering sincere appreciation to their team help to create a team of people that are constantly renewed in their commitment to their leader, their team, and are more likely to remain dedicated to doing all they can to help the team thrive and succeed.
So to recap on the things you can do to begin to build trust and create a strong team culture is 1) create a safe place 2) empower them and 3) take time to recognize what they are doing well.
As a leader, what is the one area you want to focus on that can help you to build further trust with your team and create a culture that you’re team is excited to be a part of?
Thanks for reading today’s post. I’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’d like to continue the conversation with us, join us for our next workshop on March 27th on how to Find Your Next Builder.