I remember when I entered my first leadership role, overseeing a diverse group of individuals of all ages. I came in with particular ideas and an action plan. I sat back and watched how they functioned. I quickly realized they had a strong organizational culture that I was not a part of.

anonymous employees using computers in creative coworking space near laptop on table
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I observed how they interacted with each other and was struck by the norms the group displayed. They had been together for many years and they communicated in a specific way. The group had their pecking order even though they were all at the same level. There were very specific tasks that they completed in particular ways and they often followed a particular pattern. I realized I had a lot of work ahead of me

Different Types of Leadership

There are 3 different types of leadership: Leading yourself, leading others, and leading the organization.

Organizational leadership can be summed up in one word; culture.

A culture encompasses the shared beliefs and values of a group of people.

When it comes to an organization, you create the shared beliefs and values. You create the culture of the organization as the leader.

What you value, the organization will value.

Think about this…

Are you cut throat and competitive?

Is honesty and integrity important to you?

Do you have open communication or do you hold information closely to you?

Are you vulnerable with your staff?

Do you value personal and professional development?

Are you rigid in your processes, expecting others to get it done as you would get it done?

Is delegating and empowering employees to get the job done important?

Do you like to have fun?

You Control the Culture

The organizational culture you establish sets up the employees expectations and norms. You determine whether your team values professional and personal development. You determine the value of collaboration and team work. Over time, your words and your actions shape the culture of the organization.

Studies show that when you create a positive organizational culture, moral is higher and efficiency increases.  A positive culture encourages connectedness, teamwork, empowering and encouraging. It’s about allowing your people to bring themselves to work and to utilize their strengths. When you do that, the individual will thrive and the organization will thrive.

As for me, it took a year and a half to deconstruct and reconstruct the type of culture I wanted based off of the values that were important to me, the leadership style I exuded, and research I had conducted on effective organizations. Even then, I had to be intentional to maintain the culture.

Within this one aspect of leading, I realized that leading is a marathon and not a sprint.

Think about what type of workplace environment you want and then take incremental steps to put that into place.


If you are a leader or emerging leader who wants to lead with meaning and purpose, then let’s connect. Join me at the Emerging Leaders Network (a group on Facebook) community designed for leaders to collaborate on best practices and discuss issues to become great leaders.

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Stephanie German is a leadership coach and consultant, author, and adjunct professor. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and loves giving back to her community in a variety of ways. When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. Stephanie’s greatest desires are to raise up the next generation of leaders while raising her own children to be strong, independent, and brave. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?

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