One of a manager’s primary concerns should be the culture of his team. It is the fuel that will power productivity and innovation.
But often immature executives think of office culture more like an air filter than fuel. They only see morale as an annoying item on a checklist rather than their fundamental asset in reaching organizational goals.
Increased revenue and rising sales are positive trends, but if the culture and morale of the workplace is unhealthy, the organization is in trouble.
The reason is the upside down business idea: It’s better to have a loving and kind office culture with less profit than more profit and a toxic workplace.
The Scripture teaches it this way: “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” (Proverbs 15:17)
An encouraging corollary to that truth is that a humble, confident and life-giving office culture will result in more profits in the long term. God never promises mansions, millions or sports cars, but he does promise provision to those who honor him. (Proverbs 22:4)
No company will survive for long with arrogant and detached leadership and employee retention on the decline. When employees lack motivation and clarity and management adds little more than confusion and fear, then no slogan or policy will right the ship.
But take heart, a poor culture is not beyond repair. A wise leader can redirect morale and transform the workplace to a better and healthier environment.
While there are literally hundreds of helpful applications a leader could take from Scripture, consider a simple teaching from Jesus. He said, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31). This is commonly called the Golden Rule.
Leaders can use the Golden Rule to improve office culture in these 4 ways:
1. Speak in a manner that you would want to be spoken to.
An executive title is not a license to be harsh and impatient. Use your own words to show your team what respect and kindness sound like.
2. Tell the truth like you would expect your employees to.
If an employee told a half truth or dodgy story to explain a missed deadline or late project, he would be considered to have poor integrity. If a leader outwardly encourages transparency, but then withholds key information from his team, he is breeding distrust and toxicity.
3. Don’t ask for more commitment from your employees than you can give in return.
Most executives would eliminate employees who continually underperform and aren’t worth the investment of their salary. But those same leaders might ask their employees to work for less pay than market value because of some adherence to a “mission.” When managers do this, they are asking for something that they cannot and will not give in return.
4. Show empathy toward employee concerns like you want them show toward your organization’s mission
If a leader is detached, unavailable and aloof, then he should not be surprised when his team fails to support his vision for the future.
Follow these steps and your office culture will improve. As culture improves, so will productivity. And increased productivity will affect the bottom-line.
For more reading on improving office culture, I recommend these articles:
10 Steps to Building a Healthy Culture
Stories of Christians Shaping Culture
Here’s How You Can Actually Change Your Workplace’s Culture