What is team culture?

What is team culture?
April 1, 2019 Linda Murray
In Leadership, Small Business, Team

If you watched the fallout from the banking royal commission, you’d have heard a lot about culture and how it guides performance. In this case, the cultures of the “big four” banks were exposed as toxic, in some cases, filled with greed and a desire for money over service. It’s the way many operated.

It’s clear how important culture is to the performance and the reputation of your organisation. It’s also vital to the way your teams work and collaborate together.

When my clients ask me about culture, I ask them to think about some of the groups they’ve been part of. Work groups, family groups, social groups, community groups and so on…

Each one has a different feel to it and expects you to think and behave in certain ways. That is culture.

It explains why you feel like you fit in with some teams better than others. You’re “on the same wavelength.”

So, what is culture?

Well, there’s more to it than bringing in bean bags, pinball machines and a colourful environment, like Google. Those are just tools to help shape the culture they want.

Culture is like a cocktail. Toss in a set of values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours and blend, then share it with your people. That’s what binds people as a team and helps them work towards a shared goal.

And I can go even further.

Team culture is the way you treat the people in your team… the way you work together with them.

Honestly, I understand why it can be difficult to identify the culture within your team because it’s not something you can write down and measure people against.

Culture is inevitable.

Team culture will be created whether you influence it or not. It happens whenever a group of people work together. And it will either be positive or perhaps toxic.

Think about it. The bank Executives probably didn’t sit down and design a toxic culture. But they did let it develop by setting certain policies and turning a blind eye to the way they were applied.

You shape the culture of your team.

The organisation will have some influence on culture, but the real culture comes down to you. Whether you are CEO or part of the leadership team the team will follow your lead right down to the way you treat people; right down to the way you act to meet team goals.

So, there’s a right way and a wrong way to think and behave in every team. It’s up to you to define thriving collaborative cultures and show everyone how it’s done.

If this sounds like it’s all too hard, watch out for my next post where I’ll show you how powerful a positive culture can be. There are probably more benefits than you realise.

If you can’t wait till my next post, give me a call or contact me here. I love talking about leading teams and shaping cultures.

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