Written By Tim Yeomans

Published on January 18, 2023

We are all customers, and we all form preferences and opinions based on the personal interactions, purchases, and transactions we have with businesses. We assess the quality of each experience very quickly, comparing it to others we liked or disliked. Everyone has a few businesses to which they are especially loyal, businesses they actually look forward to interacting with.

Some organizations are particularly clean and efficient. Others have team members who provide exceptional service again and again. Some companies are extremely transparent about their values and invite feedback regularly, while others deliver a great feeling with every interaction.

Why Focus on Culture?

The common thread linking all these entities is a positive, purposeful, and clear workplace culture where team members share ownership in both the quality of the product and the outcome of the customer experience.

Shared ownership is rare. When it does occur, it results from intentional, passionate, and purposeful leadership applied consistently over time. 

If you’re asking yourself “what is in this secret sauce?,” then read on! Listed below are 10 combinations of leadership qualities causal to building and growing a positive workplace culture. This article differs from other lists of traits for effective leadership, as it moves beyond the actions of the leader and focuses on the ways a leader engages with their team. It goes further than what’s required to generate immediate results, narrowing in on what will sustain and grow results over the long term.

Applying these leadership qualities consistently and relentlessly will engender loyalty, trust, and a sense of belonging in the team members that experience them. Those team members, in turn, will extend that feeling of loyalty and trust to your customers.

1. Genuine Enthusiasm and Passion for the Work

You’ve likely noticed that positive enthusiasm and passion are contagious. Beyond that, they help frame the mindset and perception of your team members about the work they perform every day. 

2. Vision and Strategic Thinking

Your vision for the direction of your team or organization can be highly inspirational. As you craft and communicate it, remember that people love to be associated with a great team. Combining your vision with clear strategic thinking will create a cornerstone for the confidence your team members extend to their leaders.

3. Unquestionable Honesty and Integrity

A team member’s trust and loyalty to a business is a reflection of the level of trust and loyalty they have in their leader. When you demonstrate these qualities without exception, you’re creating the foundation for a great workplace culture.

4. Commitment to Listening and Asking Great Questions

Listening intently is an act of engagement and, in many ways, caring. When you ask thoughtful questions, you’re conveying a genuine interest in the thoughts and insights of your team. Combining listening with asking questions sends a message that you value your team and their contributions.

5. Decisiveness and High-Quality Decision-Making

It is important for a leader to be perceived as decisive, however, to complete the picture, you must also be observed to make high-quality decisions based on solid data and input from your team. This is another area in which you form your team’s foundations of trust.

6. Empathy and Compassion

It’s a basic human need for each of us to know that we’re genuinely cared for. When you engage in overt and intentional acts of compassion and empathy toward your team members, you’re showing genuine interest in their well-being. Team members who understand that you care will respond with their own demonstrations of loyalty and trust.

7. Great Communication and Transparency

A lack of information often leads team members to speculate about possible negative outcomes. Instead of allowing this dynamic to transpire, prioritize great communication and transparency within your organization to create a feeling of connection to its purpose and mission.

8. Grit, Determination, and Self-Motivation

When the going gets tough, team members need to see their leader leaning in. Demonstrate a willingness to do hard work and go beyond mere delegation because this is a leadership essential that will help see your team through hard times.

9. Humility and Reflection

You can demonstrate humility by taking the arrows and passing the credit, owning your missteps without blaming others, and being quick to recognize your team members’ contributions. Sharing your authentic thoughts, particularly after a successful or challenging period, is a way to demonstrate reflection.

10. Delight in Seeing Others Grow and Succeed

A bellwether trait team members look for in their leaders is the sincere enjoyment of creating a culture that internally rewards growth and accomplishment. Invest in your team via education and certifications, attaching rewards to their efforts, and you’ll demonstrate that you perceive culture as essential.

Positive Culture Is a Foundation for Success

When organizations enjoy success over an extended period of time, the dynamic can often be traced to a culture that resonates with team members and has been intentionally nurtured by thoughtful leadership. When times are good, an outstanding workplace culture is the catalyst that feeds creativity and energy within an organization. When challenges and difficult times arise, culture is the foundation upon which team members rely. In many cases, it’s the reason they choose to remain rather than seek greener pastures.

By any analysis, investing in an outstanding workplace culture is an investment in the sustained success of your business.