So, now that you want to change (see Part 1 of this article), let’s examine in Part 2, how can you change your company culture.
Culture is naturally created from the top. That means, whereever you are the ‘top’, you can shape culture. If you ‘only’ have an intern you can lead, than this is your playfield. Actually, it is the best playfield you can get as you can try and learn without hurting too many people.
Culture shaping always starts with shaping yourself. If back biting and proclaiming colleagues a ‘lame duck’ is normal behaviour for you, you won’t find anyone who trusts you. You might feel superior – and even believe that you are right in doing so – but the consequence of your behaviour are shallow connections at work with noone walking for you through fire.
During the first years of your career, this might feel insignificant and the emotional high of being powerful overrights the sense of loneliness in your cohort. But as you become a project lead and later head of several different projetcs, you need to rely on people. And with pressure, you might get them silent, but you won’t get them walking the extra mile for you. But let’s face it: if you really want to be successful, you cannot do it alone. You need people, who walk with you and who actually like being around you.
So, how do you shape culture?
With one interaction at a time. Listen well. Speak positive. Ask questions. Connect with everyone in your team. Step by step. And be consistent in it. Let people explore and discover that you are trustworthy. You are not the one speaking about anybody behind their back. You keep secrets. Define for yourself what your key defining leadership traits are and act accordingly.
This is why, it is so good to start with the one intern. Because everyone you meet in your whole career is this one intern. And you decide, how you interact with that person. And by interacting, you shape the culture around you.
That also means, instead of complaining ‘no one greets in the office in the morning’ – be the one greeting everyone!
Instead of playing the victim who never gets an invite for lunch – ask people for having lunch together. Ask them questions and let a conversation unfold.
If you think, this sounds hard … then I need to admit, it is in a way. It is consistency and good self-leadership on a daily basis. But even if it takes several weeks to influence the people around you, you will love the effect. Promised.