All Articles Leadership Inspiration Leaders, understand the personal impact you have on culture

Leaders, understand the personal impact you have on culture

Leaders make an impact. The failure to understand that drives so much of today's toxic workplace atmospheres.

3 min read


Leaders, understand the personal impact you have on culture

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In my new book with Mark Babbitt, “Good Comes First,” there’s one critical thing we’ve learned over the years: Leaders do not clearly understand the personal impact they have on their company’s culture and workplace respect.

Your actions and decisions deeply affect how your company operates. Align your behaviors with defined “corporate values” and people will see you as a shepherd of all that is good.

But if your actions run counter to their stated values, the impact can be profoundly damaging.

Every personality comes with admirable traits and its own set of challenges. But if a leader consistently displays desirable behaviors, employees will emulate those traits. Over time, the demonstration of those positive behaviors will reinforce the desired company culture.

On the other hand, the undesirable behaviors demonstrated by a leader (perhaps unknowingly) — especially those that contradict stated corporate values — tacitly permit others to act in the same culture-killing manner. In the end, those behaviors do not just tear down respect and morale, they also inhibit productivity and profits.

Thus, a leader whose behavior does not align with their company’s stated values creates a vicious cycle of bad behavior. This cycle often crushes employee satisfaction and is terrible for the bottom line.

How do you, as a leader in the Social Age, prevent this from happening? Perhaps for the first time since the Industrial Age began, you must show respect in every interaction. You must model the desired behaviors. You must serve as Chief Role Model.

You, every day, must put good first.

A leader who champions a company culture based on mutual respect and validation must work diligently to be respectful and validating in every interaction, every day.

Your words matter. Your actions matter. As a leader, how and why you craft and communicate decisions matters. And any tolerance of undesirable behaviors matters a great deal — to your team, your division and your entire company.

Do not dismiss or discount the powerful personal impact you have on your work culture and the employee experience daily.

You are the role model. Embrace it. Own it. And expect others — and coach others — to do the same. This is how good comes first.


S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author and executive consultant with The Purposeful Culture Group, where he is founder and CEO. He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “The Culture Engine.” His latest book, “Good Comes First,” recently published and was co-authored with Mark Babbitt. Edmonds’ videos, posts and podcasts are available at Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.

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