Is Leadership More Important Than Company Culture?
Wednesday September 12th, 2018
By now, if you haven't read about, heard about or thought about the impact of leadership and culture on the success of a company, then you may quite possibly be living in the dark ages. Leadership and company culture are the current buzzwords of HR management blogs, and for good reason. Both can drastically affect the trajectory of your company, either in positive or negative ways. But which of these is really the driving force behind any company's success?
Before we decide which is more vital to the success of your company, it's important to understand the value of both leadership and culture on their own.
"Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals."
It should go without saying that leadership is one of the foundations of any successful business. Great leaders have the power to boost company morale and increase productivity, all while moderating an array of different personalities within the workplace. It's not easy to lead a team of diverse workers who come from different backgrounds and who have different skill sets and individual opinions.
Great leaders recognize that the company is no greater than the sum of its parts, with each part working to its fullest potential towards a common goal. They are communicative without being condescending, strong without being overbearing, and flexible without being pushovers.
Simply put, you cannot have a successful company without leadership, so it is vitally important to ensure that the leadership you have in place is helping your employees to thrive and not hindering their success.
"Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong corporate culture first and foremost."
— David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot
Company culture describes the work environment within your company. It reflects the attitudes of your team as a whole, as well as their shared goals, values and commitments to the company. The culture encapsulates the very spirit of your brand. Company culture is something you may not have intentionally created, but it exists within every company just the same.
In simpler terms, the best way to know what kind of culture has developed within your company is to ask your employees how they describe their place of work to others. They will either describe a job they love, with people they respect and appreciate and work that is interesting and challenging. Or, alternatively, they could describe a job that stifles them creatively, with people who frustrate them and managers who don't support them. Where a positive company culture can inspire employees to do their best work and feel satisfied and supported when they come into the office, a negative company culture can lead to burned out, disgruntled employees.
So, it is important that carefully cultivate the culture within your company – to ensure that every aspect of the work life of your employees is conducive to productivity, engagement and innovation.
So where does that leave us? All things considered, it is unlikely that you would choose leadership over culture, or vice versa. Both are important pieces of the puzzle when building a company with staying power. This leads to the idea that great leadership and great company culture are not mutually exclusive, but instead are dependent on each other. A successful company culture is created, nurtured and maintained by great leadership. And you attract great leaders by building a positive company culture.
Culture and leadership are simply two sides of the same coin – both contribute to the success of your company in powerful ways. They are equal in measure and are therefore both necessities that deserve your full attention.