How Leaders Shape Company Culture

leaders shape culture
Picture of Linda Tigrine

Linda Tigrine

Chief Operating Officer

“The words “workplace culture” often brings to mind companies like Google or Pixar, with bright colours, open offices, company social activities, and an atmosphere of fun as well as hard work. The reality, however, is that a strong workplace culture does not have to be fun-loving to be satisfying – and if the culture is not already satisfying for your employees, then a foosball table is not going to help” – Business News Daily.

The role of the leader is something that many business owners and management teams have contemplated. Will their actions impact their employees? Is there merit in leading by example? The way in which leaders shape company culture is a fascinating topic. It’s one that every individual considering a leadership position should consider. High-quality leadership has a key impact on company culture. The right leadership will help a company (whether established or fledgling) to stand the test of time.  Here are some of the ways in which good leaders can help to shape company culture:

Leaders Establish Values and Goals

First of all, you need to know that a business leader is an individual who motivates a group of people to achieve a collective business goal. A business leader is usually someone in a position of authority. This could be a company president or chief executive.

A business leader will take their own values, and then turn them into companywide values. You will often find that a company with family-focused values will have a leader with family-focused values, for example. A great example of this is Elon Musk. Musk is one of the world’s biggest entrepreneurs right now. As the leader of Tesla and SpaceX, he values action: thinking quickly and making decisions without hesitation. So, it should come as no surprise that these values are reflected in the fast-paced nature of his companies. His values became company values.

Leaders Encourage Employee Engagement

Every good leader knows that their employees are their most valuable asset. They also know that the best employees are the most engaged employees. Engaged employees are better motivated, more productive, and less likely to move elsewhere. As a result, leaders often shape culture by actively encouraging employee engagement. This can take many forms, and a leader can achieve this by asking the following questions:

  • Are our standards high enough? Are we employing the right people? Are our expectations for what it would take to achieve in this company realistic?
  • How can our employees advance up the career ladder? Is there a clear path of progression that they can follow? What does that look like, and how will it help to enhance the careers of the best employees?
  • Do our leaders have a meaningful relationship with our employees? Is their feedback valuable and considered to be worth-while? How often does this interaction take place: leaders should be visible more frequently than just at an end-of-year review!
  • What do leaders do to better the opportunities for their employees? Consider all company culture elements. These could include education opportunities, skill development and away days or team building.

Successful Leaders Participate

How can you shape the company culture of your business if you don’t understand what the existing company culture is? A leader cannot expect their employees to commit to a certain company culture if they are not also committed to that culture. So don’t be afraid to be hands-on and spend time at a ground-roots level with your team and your employees. Company culture is an important factor for 46% of job seekers. If you want to attract the best employees in your field then you need to cultivate a company culture that they deem attractive. You cannot do that without putting yourself in their shoes and understanding what your culture looks like at a fundamental level.

When you’ve ascertained what your company culture should look like, you need to walk the walk. In real terms, this means that you exemplify the qualities that you expect your staff to model.

Leaders Are Transparent

Finally, to create a positive company culture, you need to treat each of your employees with respect and make them feel that their individual efforts are appreciated. They can’t feel that they are a cog in a machine. All employees should be given the opportunity to have a say in how the company is run and be part of any integral decision-making processes. This could be in the form of a company forum, regular employee surveys, or even an open-door policy or suggestion box. This will ensure employees always feel that their voice is heard. Encouraging collaboration across departments and listening to feedback will create a relaxed and reassuring culture that is hard to replicate.

Create traditions and give employees opportunities to connect to each other outside of the workplace. This could be by arranging team building events, Christmas parties, or annual company family fun days. This will cement transparency and build trust. It will also allow relationships to form between the leadership team and their employees.


Company culture and employee engagement are vital, and leaders play a key role in shaping this. There is a direct correlation between company culture and business success. Research suggests that having highly engaged employees can lead to a 202% increase in performance. So, taking the time to ensure that your employees are benefiting from the best company culture will not only improve their happiness and morale, but will also directly impact your business growth and success too.

Here at Yo, we’re all about Improving Business Success through telecoms, technology and other means. Get in touch with one of our team to find out how we can help you and your business today!

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