Does your gut hurt? Time for a culture test

In a leaders life stress can become a consistant companion.  We can become locked in on results, after all, that's what we are here for: to produce.  As we obsess over numbers and other quantitative items we fail to see a much larger issue plaguing our team.  The culture of the team is suffering.   Culture is critical.  

 Being a leader is like being a farmer.  You want to grow great things so lots of people benefit from your labor.  Culture in leadership is to soil in farming.  

Photo credit to Waine Wright

You can water bad soil all day but you're just wasting water.  The same is true for your team.  You can cast vision, be a training ninja, and communicate like the associated press and still not see anything grow.  Great culture creates the opportunity for great things to happen.

So how does a leader evaluate the culture of their team?

1.  Listen to people pray - People will pray for what they care about.  If team members don't pray about the mission and for one another there is a culture issue.

2.  Listen for affirmation - Pride can be a cancer in a team.  You know you have a rockin culture when affirmation is said often between team members.  The leader has to be the primary example and the permission giver to team members to share affirmation.

3.  You're never wrong - If you're a leader and no one has disagreed with you in over a year, you have a culture issue.  This means people have stopped caring or you stopped listening.  Limiting the input of others is devastating to team or organizational culture.

4.  We never celebrate - Teams that set goals but never celebrate accomplishing those goals are like a hamster in a hamster wheel.  The never ending movement will lead to burn out.

Life as a leader is no fun when we dread being together.  That pit in your stomach is a result of stress.  Don't try to medicate the symptom through accomplishing more actions.  Instead, focus on culture and how you as the leader can improve it.

I would love your thoughts on other ways to evaluate culture?  Please leave a comment below!