The term “corporate culture” or “company culture” itself hails from the 1980s. However, the concept has been around for much longer — it references the simple idea that each company has its own unique character. But understanding the concept of company culture is one thing. Understanding how to shape and influence it in your own company is something else entirely.
While many different factors play into company culture, leadership is one of the most powerful factors at play. If you want to improve your company culture, boost productivity, and reap other benefits, transformational leadership can hold the answer.
How and why does transformational leadership affect company culture? Let’s take a closer look.
The Benefits of Transformational Leadership
You likely already know some of the many ways the transformational leadership characteristics will improve your company culture. Still, let’s zoom in a bit on how transformational leadership can benefit your business.
Improved Employee Retention
Your employees may show up every day and do their jobs. But do you know how they’re feeling while at work?
If your employees aren’t thriving, you’re much more likely to lose them to other businesses. These high turnover rates can get costly, and may negatively impact your company culture. After all, it’s hard to foster a consistent culture when your team changes frequently.
With transformational leadership, you can give employee well-being a boost. This makes them more likely to stick around.
Employees will feel that their voices and suggestions matter, and that they aren’t stuck with processes that don’t work well. They’ll be able to commit to a future vision for a company that they care about. When you have leaders who listen and make changes based on employee feedback, you get more loyal employees.
Does your company culture suffer from a lack of productivity? Transformational leadership is also great for a company-wide productivity boost.
If your employees don’t feel trusted, they’ll be less productive. Strict rules and constant oversight can actually hinder productivity by making employees feel nervous or uncertain.
Meanwhile, the freedom and guidance offered by transformational leadership help employees take initiative. This leads to greater productivity.
Productivity without innovation can mean very little, though. You don’t want employees who work harder — you want employees who work smarter.
With transformational leadership, you’ll encourage employees to innovate. They won’t fear getting in trouble if they bring forward a strange or different idea. This will lead to creative ideas that otherwise may never have been brought to your attention.
Our Favorite Transformational Leadership Examples
Transformational leadership isn’t just some new, untested concept. It’s already helped some of the world’s most successful companies thrive. Here are just a few examples that you can learn from and apply to your own business.
Elon Musk is one of the world’s best-known transformational leaders. First, he has grandiose visions that are unlike those of most business leaders. And second, he gets his employees on board with those visions, while giving them the freedom to excel.
Employees who see a leader that strongly believes in his or her own vision are more likely to believe in that vision, too. Seeing your confidence can foster confidence in your employees.
Also, unlike some leaders, Elon Musk isn’t afraid to take a public stand on political issues. This is another example of transformational leadership in action. By being open about his political stance, Musk ties the vision of his company into a vision for a better world, which employees can also align themselves with.
Pixar founder Ed Catmull has famously said that good ideas don’t make for good elevator pitches. As a transformational leader, he promotes creativity and change, not sticking by the elevator pitch-friendly status quo.
Leaders like him can encourage weird, creative, hard-to-summarize ideas from their employees. At Pixar, it’s those very concepts that have turned into some of the greatest hits.
Catmull also made it an early goal to hire people that he thought were more qualified and intelligent than he was. Instead of feeling threatened by employees like this, he sought them out, knowing that they could benefit his business.
Patagonia is famous for its unique company culture, and the transformational leadership in Patagonia plays an important role.
At this brand, leaders create a long-term vision, and inspire employees to get on board. However, they also listen to feedback from employees. Anyone can challenge the status quo at any time. Instead of a pyramid with a few powerful leaders at the top, Patagonia is more like a network, with a flow of communication that’s not held back by hierarchies.
Patagonia also employs unique principles of leadership, like the famous “Let My People Go Surfing,” a philosophy described in founder Yvon Chouinard’s book of the same name. The name references the company’s flexitime policy, which allows employees to work flexible hours. Employees who can find time to go surfing (or do other things important to them) tend to be more creative and more loyal than employees who can’t.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, believes that good leaders focus on the success of others, not themselves. Leaders should help employees become successful, rather than striving for their own wins. As a leader, you win when your employees win.
Some leaders have become famous for being intimidating or argumentative. Pichai, on the other hand, is known for being calm, collected, and friendly. Instead of always picking sides and taking stands, he simply does what’s best for the company and its employees.
His approach involves hands-on help and collaboration to bring out the best in each employee. Other leaders can learn from his humility and kindness to foster transformation in their own businesses.
How to Add These Strategies to Your Company Culture
Ready to inspire a new company culture through transformational leadership? All you need to do is take the words and strategies of these masters, and apply them to your own business.
Believe in your company’s vision, like Elon Musk does. Avoid the oversimplified elevator pitch in favor of complex ideas, like Ed Catmull suggests. Give your staff time for personal hobbies and fun, like Yvon Chouinard and his surfing employees. And invest in your employees’ successes, just like Sundar Pichai does.
With this inspiration, you’re now ready to transform your company culture! However, you don’t have to make all these big changes on your own. Contact us today to learn how we can help with our leadership training!
How’s Your Company’s Culture?
Take a few moments to reflect on your company’s culture. Do you find yourself focusing on employee issues rather than growing the business? When you look at interactions with your employees, do you have any concerns? Do you really know what’s happening when you walk away from a conversation with an employee? Are they repeating what you said to other employees? Are they planning to create their own, better version of what you are trying to develop? Do they respect you? Do they really want to work you?
The answers to these questions can tell you a lot about the overall health of your company culture and what areas need improvement. Remember, people leave people, not companies. If your employees are not engaged and happy, it’s most likely a leadership issue – not a company problem.
Your Company Growth
When you began your business journey, it all started with an idea. And, you have grown that idea into a company that is worth keeping. Ensure it keeps growing by being learning how to handle the inner workings of employees with organizational leadership training. Developing your leadership skills is one of the most important investments you can make.