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Leading culture

Great leaders invest in the culture of their team.

They see leadership as more than a level within an organisation and as a responsibility for the care and support of team members to individually contribute to the collective outcomes of the team.

Leading culture is about the everyday little things and working on a human level with each individual in the team. Culture leaders adapt their leadership approach for the varied needs of each team member, to get the best out of them.

Below is a list of the things great leaders of culture make sure they’re doing:

Lead by example

Role model being accountable for the behaviours you want to see in the team.

Deliver things you agree to deliver.

Be consistent in your demeanor and behaviours with your team.


Make sure you’re providing it regularly; this builds trust and your team members will know that you give feedback on the good and the bad and want to see them succeed.

Notice each person's contributions and recognise them.

Make sure they know how much their work matters – show how it fits into the bigger picture of the team's output or organisations goals.


Often! It’s almost impossible to over communicate in a work context – people only retain what’s important to them, so key messaging can be easily missed in a busy week.

Have a structure and rhythm to the way you share information, so people get to know when to look out for information you want them to receive.

Use varied mediums, different approaches apply to different people – this gets more important with larger audiences, spanning different generations.

Connect the team

Find ways to bring the team together socially and share people’s strengths, create opportunities for collaboration, encourage virtual check-ins so there’s no impact or those working remotely, regular fun activities etc.

Tap into team members’ interests and get them to lead activities, so it doesn’t all rest on you.


Share whatever you can. Be open. People like to be brought in on information, particularly in uncertain times.

Get to know each team member as an individual

What are their hobbies.

What are their professional aspirations.

What goes on for them outside of work.

How can you support their career development.

When you know where each team members is at professionally and personally, you can find suitable opportunities for them throughout the year.

Ask for help

Tapping into your team members’ expertise is hugely rewarding for them and for you.

Ask team members for their views and insights on things within their expertise; be genuinely open to their contribution to your decisions making.

Listen actively

You employed team members with a range of skills, experiences and expertise; create opportunities for them to share these with you and with others across the business.

Try to hold meetings which provoke discussion and see you speaking far less than your team members. Listen to what they share and tap into their expertise.

Listen not only for what your people say, but also for what they don’t say – this can give you great cues as to team dynamics and culture and guide your efforts on team building.

Coach them rather than answering every question – to build decision making confidence and independence. The investment of your time in the short term will pay dividends in the long run, in terms of your time and overall team productivity.

Create a safe place to learn & innovate

Reframe mistakes as learning opportunities.

Build confidence by celebrating progress & successes.

Assure them that you’ll retain accountability; apportion recognition to them for their successes.

Foster reflective practice, so the team can learn from eachother and build a more collaborate culture with less dependence on yourself.

Defend, support, profile

Be a cheerleader.

Talk your team members up to clients and other senior members of your organisation.

Attribute work to them, even when they’re not in the conversation.

Publicly defend your team as a whole and individually. Take accountability for any issues, then navigate the issue with the individual privately, so you can find the learning opportunities.


Find opportunities for them to take on stretch projects and support them in the background, either yourself or partner them with a mentor or buddy.

Ensure that development includes more than just courses; exposure to new skills and opportunities to practice on real work often yield better learning than a public course with generic content.

Provide stretch opportunities – offer for them to work on projects in other teams, see if they can cover periods of leave for roles they’ve flagged as being on their career path.

Know who in your team doesn’t want development – some people may have enough in their lives outside of work or be at a stage in their career where they’re not after stretch opportunities; know this and support it.

Open doors for them – finding mentors can be a huge advantage for team members who’re building their career. Matching with team members who’re more experienced and would benefit from sharing their expertise is a great mutual benefit.

Lead the team with enthusiasm

It’s contagious and will help the team feel confident, which fosters innovation.

Find opportunities to celebrate; business milestones, team successes, anything that connects them with eachother and with you and ideally to the business.

Try to create an environment which encourages laughter; it’s good for the soul and connects people – even finding ways to have a laugh at the ridiculousness of a tricky work situation (e.g. difficult customer you managed to find a solution for etc) can be worthwhile.

If you’d like some support to develop the culture of your team or some coaching on your leadership we’d love to help you.

We also offer a great course which teaches leaders how to coach their teams – if you want to learn more about how to build coaching into your everyday leadership, lets talk about it.

Reach out to Humanistic HR for a free introductory conversation today.


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