Culture Bites Podcast - 007 How Leaders Impact Culture

Published on 05 Jun 2018
How leaders impact culture

We talk about how Leaders directly and indirectly influence culture through the things they do and the decisions they make. This episode is hosted by Shaun McCarthy, Liana Sangster, and Dominic Gourley.

Listen-on-Apple-Podcasts-badge Listen-on-Stitcher tunein-button soundcloudbadge

This podcast episode is full of great stories and examples which bring the ideas to life. Below we have written up some of the key takeaways and ideas from this episode.

Microphone Key Takeaways and Ideas

Direct vs Indirect Influence:
Leaders have both a direct and an indirect influence on the organisation’s culture. The direct influence comes through things like leader’s role modelling of behaviours, how they show up, how they communicate. Their Indirect Influence comes through the decisions they make in regards to setting up and running the organisation: how they reward and remunerate, who they promote, how they set up the structures and systems to run the business.


Direct Influences: The Behaviours Leaders Use
Reinforcing behaviours: does the leader focus on what’s going right or what’s going wrong when people come to them?
Influence: does the leader allow their people to have influence over them? Is influence reciprocal?
Communication: How does the leader talk about what their goals and strategies are? Do they talk about them in a positive way or in a restrictive manner?
Role Modelling: How leaders behave gives permission for others to do the same. Leaders are always in the spotlight so need to be conscious about the messages they are sending.


Indirect Influences: The Decisions Leaders Make
Organisational Structure: The structure defines authority, delegation, and involvement levels.
Job Design: Do jobs have high or low levels of autonomy, variety, significance, and feedback? Can people make decisions or do they just follow the process?
Organisational Communication: What the organisation talks about sends messages about what’s important. If we talk about individual targets and sales goals then that is what people will focus on. If we talk about people working together to achieve goals then people may focus on that.
HR Systems: What are people remunerated for? Who gets what job and why? How is performance appraised?


What Leaders can do about it:
Be Aware of your Influence: Get feedback from people, how do you impact them? What culture are you creating in your corner of the world with your team/direct reports? If your organisations has a set of values, ask yourself how you are reinforcing them (or not).
Name it to Tame it: To change something, you first have to understand it. Once you can understand it, you can understand the impact it has, then you can look at what you want to change. We use our diagnostics to measure Leadership Impact as well as Culture.
Don’t Play Into the Current Culture: If you want to change the culture then make sure you are not unconsciously reinforcing the present one. If people are passive, don’t step in and make decisions for them – you’re only reinforcing that behaviour.
Stop and Think: what will people interpret about how they should behave from this decision?

Want to Learn More?

Picture1 Learn more about how we measure Leadership/Impact
 ne_culture_white_paper  Download ‘Cutting Through the Noise, what is Culture?’ White paper
 Capture Contact us if you want to talk to someone about working with your leaders   


Do you have a question or feedback for us? Send a message to

Previous Episodes:
001: Kick Starting a Passive Team
002: Dealing with Delegation
003: Telling Someone They have a Blind Spot
004: What's Wrong with Being Competitive?
005: I have a Competitive Teammate – Help!
006: What is a Toxic Culture?

Culture Bites Podcast is Copyrighted © by Human Synergistics Australia 2018. All Rights Reserved.