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Check Out Your Culture: A Management Tool to See How Behavior Strengthens Culture

Culture starts with a thought or a feeling. These thoughts and feelings then move into behaviors that set the tone for yourself and the people on your team. The interplay of feelings, thoughts and behaviors integrate to become the DNA of your team. It defines the culture and holds the key to how you and others work together to form a team. A LinkedIn survey suggested that individuals would rather put up with lower pay (65%) and forego a fancy title (26%) than deal with a bad workplace environment. When you take the time to define your culture, you produce a hospitable environment to work.

Strengths and Weaknesses in Workplace Culture

Some behaviors strengthen the culture. For instance, if you have a manager that stays calm in challenging situations, then the tone of calm becomes the environment around that person. The team maintains constant behaviors so that the culture remains consistent.

Some behaviors weaken the culture and fracture the relationship. For instance, a manager who is more reactionary generates an unstable feel. One minute, everything is fine. The next minute, the culture shifts to a crisis environment. This instability in behavior creates fear, which in turn reduces trust and authenticity.

How To Strengthen Workplace Culture and Align Your Team

The Rules of Engagement Management Tool (ROEMT) considers three defining behaviors that help to strengthen culture and align individuals on your team so that you can more effectively create a culture that maintains forward momentum. 

Rules of Engagement

The ROEMT offers you a way to look at how individuals maintain strong culture by aligning with these three core behaviors.

This new checklist is a tool to assess current behaviors that impact the stability of culture. It will help you define areas you can strengthen to create a culture offering a stronger sense of trust, authenticity, and forward momentum.

How to Use the ROEMT Checklist

There are three core behaviors identified in the ROEMT. Each section addresses each of the three behaviors. The information you obtain will help you to understand where you or a team member may weaken culture by introducing contradictions.

In the first section, “Words of Intent,” you are looking at the strength of your personal and organizational behavior of care for others. Culture arises from how much you care for yourself and others within the workplace. These are action words that describe who you want to be as a person and team.

When you have a strong sense of how you want to treat people in all situations, then you are better able to address behaviors that take away from these action words. For instance, a friendly team will have a clear understanding of how “friendly” is defined for their team and buy into the value of using this behavior to maintain a sense of purpose. A team that has defined an action word (friendly, helpful, kind) to portray their culture can use it as a measure of success as it relates to culture. A great example of this comes from the TV show Ted Lasso. For fans of this show, you know that “believe” is the word they use to define the way they work.

Missing checks from this section are a springboard for a discussion on identifying and defining the action words that you would like to see for your team. You will then have a clearly defined behavior for how to treat others and yourself, which is an asset to your team’s culture and success. Individuals who have check marks in this section maintain a sense of cohesion so that people know that this is the expected behavior of the team. Imagine how nice it would feel to know that when you deal with a team you can depend on one type of action behavior when dealing with anyone involved.

Creating Trust and Authenticity in Your Workplace

Section two of the ROEMT looks at the behavior of words and actions matching. When words and actions match, you create trust and authenticity. According to a recent study in Harvard Business Review, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout than people at low-trust companies. Trust can go a long way in creating a stronger workplace.

Think about a person you know who has words and actions that do not match. How much trust would you place with a person who did not have check marks in this section? Missing check marks from this section would invite a discussion about making sure that words and action match, not only for your commitment, but also for matching your actions to the core action words that you used to define how you treat other people and yourself. The value added here is an increase in trust and authenticity.

Moving Beyond Right or Wrong

The final section of the ROEMT identifies the behavior of judgment for good or bad, and wrong or right, for events or people. These four judgments create a value system within a group of people that doesn’t allow for individual differences. With this type of judgment system, you will see people who may be frustrated, angry, or hurt. The focus turns to proving who is wrong and who is right. Individuals who have check marks in this area can look at the bigger picture and realize that placing blame only moves you backward. The value added is that people will focus on fixing problems and moving work forward as opposed to pulling problems backward with a focus on trying to determine who is right and wrong.

Use the ROEMT Checklist to Move Your Team Forward

You can get a good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of your team’s culture by completing this assessment tool with each member of your team. With this information, you can make decisions on how you want to strengthen your culture and keep everyone on your team moving forward together.

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Written by Dr. Lynette Reed

Writer, researcher and advisor on human potential for personal and organizational development, Dr. Lynette Reed has mentored people from in businesses, not-for-profits, schools, allied health agencies, chambers of commerce, government and churches. She has taught courses on team building, leadership, ethics, world religion and world cultures. Her current literary contributions include an executive summary paperback titled, Fixing the Problem: Making Changes in How You Deal with Challenges, as well as book contributions, articles, guest radio appearances and a series of children’s books with Abingdon Press. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Institute for Soul-Centered Leadership at Seton Cove. Lynette holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spirituality, Sustainability, and Inter-Religious Dialogue and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Contact her at expectations2reality@icloud.com.

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