How an Individual Employee Can Impact Company Culture
February 3, 2024
A toxic workplace culture can be one of the most difficult struggles of corporate life.
Many people wish their company's culture would improve, but how can you improve your workplace when you don't have the power to do so?
What if you’re not the CEO? …or the President? …or a VP? …or a manager? …or a senior team member?
Sometimes I’m asked questions like, “but how can I change my company’s culture? I’m not a leader.” It’s a great question.
Many of us report to managers, VPs or c-suite executives who have little interest in adding joy to the workplace. While the importance of company culture has become more evident in recent years, many leaders still put little value in such efforts.
How to Influence Your Company's Culture Without an Impressive Title
You may not have the authority to snap your fingers and change workplace conditions, but regardless of title, you can make a deep impact within your sphere of influence. And your sphere can impact other spheres.
"You can make a deep impact within your sphere of influence. And your sphere can impact other spheres."
We all have more of an impact on others than we often realize.
Emotions are contagious. When you take the time to recognize a coworker’s contributions and show him appreciation, you’re blessing him with the encouragement he needs to continue forward. Your positive action is a domino that causes him to feel positive, which will likely be passed on to someone else. One kind act to one individual can have a ripple effect that influences millions of people. Even the simple act of saying “thank you” can have profound effects on others.
Proverbs 16:24 states, “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Have you ever experienced a rough day, then received a kind word that changed your day? A simple compliment can change the entire course of someone’s day or even life. Imagine what could happen if your workplace was overflowing with kind words of gratitude.
Be the Leader You Wish You Had
Simon Sinek stated this well in an interview, saying, “I always recommend to be the leader you wish you had… you can't control what you can't control, so worry about the people around you. Worry about the people to the sides of you, the level below you, even the level above you, and you be the leader you wish you had. What you start to find in those pockets is these magical little diamonds in the rough appear.”
John Maxwell’s book, The 360 Degree Leader, is about this very topic. In it, he explains that listening to and supporting your team members will eventually bring you to the point where they are asking you for advice. This is a powerful and influential place to be.
When others trust you, your ability to influence the culture for good greatly increases, regardless of your title. Relationship building is the foundation of effective leadership.
Do you have a difficult boss that puts his own ambitions above supporting the team? If so, how can you help him and make him better? Sound difficult? It probably will be. It takes a person of great character to help a difficult boss instead of gossiping about him.