As businesses face a new paradigm of needing to retain their talent and give their people a sense of belonging, where and how does cultural leadership fit into everything?
When we talk about leadership styles, it can be easy to forget just how many ways there are to lead—and how many ways you can easily mess it up. People will leave a job for all kinds of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons they’ll stay is for the culture.
What is meant by cultural leadership?
Cultural leadership is delving deep into the culture of your organisation. It demands creative thinking as well as collaboration with people from across all different roles and seniority.
Leading through culture isn’t just keeping people happy with vending machines and staff days out. It’s about building something that matters for the people coming together in a workplace. It starts with the very basics of an organisation: why are you there and what are you trying to achieve?
Cultural leaders get down in the dirt with their staff and share the sense of community with them. They lead by example and enforce cultural values that everyone can get behind, making them feel as though they have somewhere they belong.
Cultural leadership is just one of the ways in which an effective team leader can do their job, but it’s arguably one of the most important approaches to adopt right now in the time of The Great Resignation, where some people have quite simply had enough of poor leadership.
Cultural leadership and its importance when it comes to staff retention
As we still aim to figure out exactly what a post-COVID work landscape looks like, one thing’s for certain: substandard cultural leadership won’t cut it.
It’s true that staff can often be lured away by an extra chunk of money, but it’s also true that people stay for people. If staff aren’t feeling an urgent need to leave, spurred by bad managers and leaders they can’t wait to get away from, they’ll weigh up their options between money and colleagues with much more consideration.
Now, businesses need to be as focused on retaining and nurturing talent they already have—perhaps even more focused—as they are on attracting new talent. The success of heightening cultural work policies in this way is what has seen the rise of ‘boomerang workers’, people who quit a role only to come back to their workplace later on.
How does this relate to your business if you’re trying to fill in haps or build a team from the ground up? Bring them into the fold! Welcome them to the culture, not just the company. Nurture newcomers and give them a sense of belonging, show them they’re heard and empower them to have an impact.
In a sense, make them part of the cultural leadership themselves.
Identify ways that people in your organisation can move sideways, giving them routes other than either out of the business or nowhere at all.