How To Positively Influence Your Staff Culture
By: Nicole Cochran December 11, 2017
Making an impact on culture can seem like a daunting task, especially when you are not a leader or in a place of authority. However, taking small steps to influence your work culture can be lead to an incredibly big impact in the long run. So how can you make a difference when you’re not in charge?
Start by asking yourself the five questions below.
1. Where do you have influence?
You may not be in charge, but you still have coworkers who admire and respect you. Whether you lead a small team or you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, your attitude and actions will be noticed. Reflect the culture that you want; if stewardship of life is important to you, stay active, eat well, and find a healthy work-life balance. People in your sphere will see you living out a value that you claim as important and will be encouraged to live it out with you as a result.
2. What does your influence look like?
Maybe your church doesn’t have clearly communicated staff values, so it’s hard for you to practically live them out. Use this opportunity to take a step back and think about aspects of your staff culture that you feel could use improvement.
One common grievance from staff members from in a poor office culture is gossip. A good piece of advice: complaints go up, praise goes down. Just like your mom used to tell you, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Eliminating gossip is about more than just resisting the spread of rumors. Positively impacting your team also requires not speaking about something that you wouldn’t say to that person, or that he/she wouldn’t want you to tell others. Be the person who not only refrains from gossip, but terminates it.
3. How can I say yes?
I often find myself resisting activities that are not “my cup of tea,” and I think that’s likely true of all of us. Did the office plan a theme for Halloween this year? Participate and dress up! Is there a system that could use improvement, but it’s always been done that way? Change it up!
Don’t be resistant to change. I’m guessing that seeking ways to develop is tied to one of your core values. Even if a culture activity isn’t something that seems overly enjoyable to you, participating will breed better and stronger culture.
4. Do you know any of your coworkers?
Sure, you spend 40 or more hours a week around your coworkers, but have you intentionally gotten to know them? We all have people who we don’t initially click with or understand well. Pick one of them and go grab coffee, spending a little extra effort to connect with someone you don’t naturally fall in line with.
It’s okay to not be best friends with everyone (or anyone). However, hearing from your coworkers about how they’re feeling, what they’re working on, and where they want to go will give you some insight into the culture and values or your organization.
5. Who will listen?
Find a trusted supervisor or person in authority who will take time to listen to you and your ideas. Whatever the level of your church or organization in relation to culture and values, talk to someone who has a larger pull in the chain of command about how you see things. Maybe you need to make the suggestion to sit down and flesh out what your church’s values are, or maybe you have an idea of a way to infuse one of your values into everyday work life. Whatever it may be, start the conversation. Your boss can likely learn a thing or two from you as well.
Being a leader working to influence culture can be a difficult and challenging position to be in. Give your leaders grace, but also encouragement; help them find solutions and implement change. Even if you feel incapable of influence, dig a little deeper and be patient. I’ll bet you can find a way to create change.
How have you been able to influence culture on your staff team?