Why Even the Best Company Perks Will Only Take Your Culture So Far

Are you aware of how you’re showing up to your team? Not just during company-wide meetings, but in the micro moments in between –the one-to-ones, the walks down the hallway, the conference calls, etc.

How you, as the leader, show up matters. When you breed positivity, authenticity, and energy, it infiltrates the team. But on the inverse, when you show up stressed, tired and overwhelmed that too manifests within the culture, and the morale and productivity of your employees.

Google realized this early on and built a training program for their managers based on internal research they conducted on the qualities that make great managers. The organization found when the managers exemplified those qualities, their teams performed better, where happier, and tended to have greater longevity at the company.

Yes, company perks can make a difference, but they’re only part of the equation. Moods are contagious, and though it may be subconscious, their impacts are felt at a much deeper level. When yours is one of positivity, resilience and passion — it’s a game changer in the success of your team.

What qualities should you focus on strengthening to become a more effective leader?

1. Resiliency
Every business leader has challenging days when the energy is simply not there. Maybe you’re under increased pressure, things went haywire, or you’ve simply been overwhelmed by the workload or a significant decision.

Regardless, your team is looking to you to be the port in the storm. Your mood will set the tone for how your team deals with stressful or high-pressure situations. When they detect uncertainty in the leader, they too will be uncertain.

Remember, perfection is unattainable and true work-life “balance” is impossible. Life doesn’t work that way. The goal is to strike the right chord between transparency and demonstrating resiliency, and harmony across your personal and professional life. Yes, there are days when it’s tough to be an example of positive energy, but when you don’t your team feels it and over time it infiltrates the overall mood of the organization.

When issues or challenges arise, allow yourself the time and space needed to breath deep, and process and work through them. This is also a good practice to instill in your team.

2. Passion
If you are to get your team to buy in to your big vision and help fulfill your organization’s deeper purpose, you have to have passion. Nothing will take the wind out of your team’s sails than a leader who is bored or feeling unfulfilled in their personal or professional lives.

When you believe in the goals you’re trying to accomplish and support your team in finding meaning and purpose in your organization’s vision, it ignites the energy and motivates them to bring their all. Stimulate your team’s curiosity by encouraging the flow of fresh thoughts, questioning old traditions and norms, celebrating risk-taking, and never getting discouraged when if they fall short.

3. Be an advocate
Beyond creating happiness and positivity in the workplace, unforgettable leaders support their teams in achieving deep personal satisfaction from their responsibilities. They act as a coach or mentor, removing obstacles so their employees can reach new levels of growth.

Cultivate a culture of “further together”. This means building a team that’s committed to one another, as well as to clients, partners, vendors, etc.

4. Optimism
Positive psychology is powerful. No matter how challenging things get, an optimistic leader makes work easier and instills a “we got this” mentality in the team.

It’s tough to inspire your team to be their best when you’re operating from a low-energy frequency. Great leaders know how to inspire and do it with gusto.

And hint: This goes hand in hand with the passion piece. When you believe the work your organization does matters, it fuels passion and optimism.

5. Authenticity
As I mentioned, there will be challenging days when it will be tough to be the cheerleader. And there will be times when you, too, make big mistakes –own up to them. Being transparent about your slip-ups and owning how you’re feeling will humanize you to your team.

Being real with your people, and sharing information and knowledge generously will build trust and respect. In environments where the opposite exists, it creates unhealthy competition and insecurity. Consider creating an open forum, whether it’s at the policy level or a physical or tech-based forum for your team to share and collaborate.

Keep in mind, people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. How you show up makes a big difference. And when you’re at your best, your team will be too.

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Reem Nori