Amongest many leadership profiles of business leaders, the most in-demand is the one that emphasises the cultural transformation of an organisation. What this means is that organisations look towards leaders that can embed rich, sustainable, modern values and encourage the employees to work towards fulfilling the long-term vision with a sense of togetherness and fulfilment.
As such, a visionary business leader is central to an organisation’s success. For an organisational leader empowering his teams, it all begins with establishing ethics, increasing positivity, enabling accountability, fostering learning, and encouraging recognition. We have numerous examples of famous transformational leaders in India going out of their way to developing a unique and rewarding culture, such as Sanjiv Bajaj.
So, what exactly is organisational culture, and how does value-based leadership impact it? Let’s learn more.
Defining organisational culture
In a nutshell, organisational culture comprises the total of values, ethics, behaviour, and actions that are at play at any company or business. It is how the leaders, employees, and various teams from top to bottom drive the company forward through their actions influenced by a uniform code and a centralised vision. Organisational culture also has a say in the company’s vision and mission.
Needless to say, an organisation where everyone feels motivated, positive, and completely in line with the end goals will emerge successfully. According to the PwC Global Culture Survey 2021, 69% of organisations attributed their success during the pandemic to culture. Here, while the HR function might be responsible for setting the building blocks of culture, the onus is always on leaders to foster and inspire it.
The importance of leadership for organisational culture
Business leaders work towards reducing the cultural gaps in an organisation- like ethical, value-based leadership that considers defining and communicating the organisation’s culture, ethics, vision, and values to one and all as its primary role. Not only that, famous transformational leaders in India always take the lead in measuring and rewarding work culture proactively.
In the same PwC survey mentioned above, 85% of respondents who see their leaders as ‘role models of value, purpose, and culture’ think their organisation holds a competitive advantage due to culture. Hence, we can ascertain the importance of leadership for organisational culture by witnessing how it helps unite all employees in an engaging and satisfactory manner. Under the guidance of a cultural leader, everyone works towards a common purpose with complete collaboration, transparency, integrity, and trust. This leads to an environment of innovation, risk-taking appetite, ideas, and positivity.
How does a visionary business leader hold the keys to unlocking organisational culture?
Every organisational leader empowering the employees with cultural nuances follows certain actions to accomplish the task at hand. These actions could either be leading by example or influencing others to do the same. Let’s have a look.
Embedding core values
Defining and spreading core values is the bedrock of value-based leadership. These values are often a string of words that encapsulate the expected behaviour and culture at the workplace- like transparency, collaboration, teamwork, punctuality, customer-centricity, etc. At the end of the day, the role of the leader is to actively display these values and set an example for others to follow. This way, employees have a clear definition of what is expected of them, and they also have faith in a leader that walks the talk.
Encouraging learning and growth
A visionary business leader knows the importance of continuous learning and transformation. He or she understands that unlocking the next level of success for an organisation depends upon unlocking the skill and qualities of employees. As such, a leader must foster a culture of learning by introducing tools and techniques that aid employees in skilling up and sharing knowledge. By defining a career path for everyone, a leader ensures that employees have a great reason to continue evolving and developing themselves with the organisation.
Encouraging risk-taking and entrepreneurial mind-set
Finance leaders of the 21st century like Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv, often give the keys to ignition to their employees. Sanjiv Bajaj has often been quoted as the leader builder behind the cultural value of allowing employees to think like owners and take risks. By giving employees the confidence to explore ideas and pursue innovation, Sanjiv Bajaj has enabled them to truly make a difference in Bajaj’s product offerings and success. An entrepreneurial mindset, therefore, has become necessary if organisations are to break their status quo and disrupt the industry. When employees think like owners, they feel intimately connected to the organisation’s culture and vision.
Recognition and reward
One very important aspect of organisational culture is recognition of hard work and achievements. Recognition for employees fuels their own self-motivation and enables them to work even better and harder. By rewarding good work, leaders foster a culture of merit and boost the confidence of everyone on the floor. This is the first step to building long-term excellence at an organisation and improving job satisfaction. Many leaders are known for going out of their way to laud and reward their employees for their stellar contribution to the company’s success. No wonder that such companies go on to forge quite a reputation in the industry for being an employee’s dream.
It is the culture that paves the way for small companies to turn into giant MNCs. Whether it is through the pursuit of innovation, gaining first-mover advantage with digital transformation, or channeling all energies into employee growth, organisational culture has come to define the best leaders of the world. Of course, what matters is the leader at the helm who must transform the culture in line with the changing landscape of the industry as well as the trends of the future. And that is only possible if the leader lives and breathes the very culture he or she wants to propagate.
More and more top-level executives and global employees are accepting the fact that organisational culture plays the most important role in enabling a company to navigate challenges and achieve its vision. This is where visionary business leaders must lead the way in cultural transformation by establishing ethics, increasing positivity, enabling accountability, fostering learning, and encouraging recognition. Famous transformational leaders in India like Sanjiv Bajaj are proof that the cultural transformation of an organisation can work wonders in a very disruptive way. In this article, we take a look at the importance of organisational culture and the role leaders play in it.