Company Culture – Cold and Professional or Warm and Approachable

Every workplace has its own microculture as a result of its sector, its location in the world and the diverse range of individuals who make up the workforce. Culture isn’t just a case of ethnicity, though, it’s a way of thinking and acting. At an individual level, we might define culture as being the way a person thinks, acts or speaks based on their experiences and background. At a group or company level, however, the culture can generally be seen as the historical experiences and collaboration of the people that make up the group.

Unlike an individual, who we assume has some control over their experiences, thoughts and general way of thinking, corporate culture is often guided by group guidelines and rules. Another, potentially larger, influencer on corporate or group culture is internal hierarchy. The ‘higher ranked’ or ‘louder’ parties of the group often sway the culture to follow their experiences and beliefs. The opinions or thoughts of the ‘lower ranking’ or ‘quieter’ members of the group are often deemed less important by the group en masse. This, ultimately, also becomes part of the group’s culture.

This discussion regards corporate or group culture and how establishing, both actively and subconsciously, a company’s culture can impact external and internal perceptions of that company. In particular, we are looking at the differences of a cold ‘corporate’ and perceived professional company culture versus a more relaxed, warm and approachable, business model.

Of course, everyone who works anywhere always strives to be professional – that’s how it should be. However, some companies seem to believe that being professional also means being cold, unapproachable, target-driven and competitive rather than being supportive, approachable and co-operative.

Is this the right way to drive up profits? Does a cold, competitive environment achieve targets at the expense of workforce morale and happiness? Is it sometimes worth losing staff members if, at the end of the day, they’re merely seen as dead weight because they can’t keep up?

The answer is that it depends…

Cold and professional and warm and approachable work best in different industries and sectors. The financial sector, for example, is best served by an unemotional, facts and figures-driven workforce. It’s also important to meet targets and to break barriers and this can only realistically be done if everyone’s focused on the job rather than organising their next potluck meeting.

A similar culture has to prevail in a company that’s innovating, disrupting or making big changes. Amazon is probably the best example we have right now. The fast-paced, unforgiving workplace culture there, from the warehouse floor right up to Bezos himself, is legendary. The culture in Amazon is described as ‘gladiatorial’ which is what you need if you’ve decided to take on every retailer everywhere in the world and change the way they’ve always done things forever.

This approach still needs professionalism, however. Amazon isn’t a swashbuckling pirate but a well-organised, fine-tuned and exquisitely well-informed machine. No real room for feelings there. You might see this as cruel, hard, unfair or wrong, but Amazon will simply tell you you’re in the wrong arena…

What about warm and approachable?

Where do pictures of the harbour bridge, posters of Thai celebrities cute puppies and fluffy kittens fit in? Apparently, according to Japanese researchers, ‘kawaii’ helps people to get the job done and done better. Interestingly, the 2012 study found that photos of adult cats and dogs improved people’s focus and diligence only slightly. It’s almost as if people have a need to nurture; well, actually, they do.

In some industries and companies, warm and approachable will get the best results which leads to increased professionalism and profits. Of course, in some places if you were caught staring at kittens in order to improve your performance, you’d be out on your ear for time wasting.

Other companies, however, like Netflix, see kitten-staring, chatting about issues and taking whatever time off you fancy as time invested, not wasted. This company sees nurturing and developing its people as the key to its profits. Oddly enough, it seems that giving people a bit of leeway and letting them set their own targets and have a gripe at the boss also works. People at Netflix are also professionals. Hmmm…

Similarly to how a ‘colder’ culture may enforce both internal & external trust and confidence in a financial company, a ‘warmer’ culture should allow for greater exploration of creativity. Artistic based industry; design, marketing, photography, musical, creative, etc, are probably more likely to see an increase in productivity and efficiency in a more relaxed, emotional environment.

As a Director myself, and as I write this article, I’m finding myself analysing my own company; what our culture is and what I’d like it to be. I own a small digital agency in Bangkok, Thailand. As a creative company, I’d like to think we fall more on the warm, approachable side of the scale. That’s definitely the side I’d like to sit on at any rate. We don’t wear suits to the office, we don’t have punch cards, we listen to music, drink way too much coffee and love a good chat.

Can you be warm and professional at the same time? I’d like to think so. We’re fairly relaxed and I’m fine with that for my type of business. Of course, that isn’t to say we don’t have systems and methodology. It isn’t to say we don’t have rules and guidelines and it certainly doesn’t mean we aren’t professional in the business we conduct. In our case, the warmth and approachable vibe we convey is helpful to the type of service we provide. Design and marketing is a personal thing, different to each of our clients and I think we wouldn’t be able to do our job as effectively if we were teetering on the colder ‘professional’ side of the cultural fence.

Where do you find yourself and your business? Is it what you want to portray? Is your company culture the best for your clients and staff?

Ultimately you can take your pick, it seems, because both models work. Be advised however, the larger and older the company, the harder it may be to change that company’s culture. How you may want to appear and act, and how your staff and clients see your business may be two different things.

Incorporating Emotional Intelligence Into Leadership

Emotional intelligence or EI is the capacity to understand and control your own emotions, and those of the people you interact with every day. People with a high degree of this aspect of their makeup understand their feelings, what their emotions represent, and how those emotions can influence other people. EI is critical to all leaders to help ensure success. Leaders who are able to control their emotions are more likely to be great leaders. This aspect of leadership includes five key elements: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Leaders who are able to control each aspect of their emotions have a higher level of emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness
Being self-aware indicates that you know how you feel and how your emotions and actions affect others. This also means you have an awareness of your strengths and weaknesses and you behave with humility.

Self-regulation
Leaders who control themselves effectively seldom verbally attack others, make hurried or emotional decisions, typecast people, or compromise their morals. As a leader you should have a clear idea of where you will not compromise under any circumstance. You also know what values are most important to you. You reexamine your code of ethics to ensure they are unchanged. Knowing what is most important to you helps you realize that you won’t have to think twice when you face a moral or ethical decision.

If you have a tendency to blame others when something goes wrong then you are not accountable. You should admit your mistakes and to face the outcome, whatever they are.

Practice being calm – The next time you’re in a difficult situation, be aware of how you act. Do you have outbursts of anger? You have to learn to calm yourself.

Motivation
Energetic leaders work consistently toward their purpose, and they have exceptionally high standards for the quality of their work. Your personal motivation can be improved by following these simple guidelines.

Re-examine the things you really love about your career. If you’re unhappy in your role and you’re struggling to remember why you wanted it, then you should spend some time to find the root of the problem. Starting at the source often helps you look at your situation in a new way.
Make sure that your goal statements are creative and energizing.

Know where you stand. Determine how motivated you are to lead. Completing a leadership motivation assessment can help you see plainly how motivated you are in your leadership role. Motivated leaders are usually positive, regardless of the problems they face. Implementing this approach might take practice, but it will pay-off in the long run. Mind Tools has a good assessment tool that anyone can use.

Every time you face a challenge, or even a letdown, determine at least one good thing about the situation.

Empathy
Empathy is vital to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy have the talent to put themselves in someone else’s situation. They help mature the people on their team, challenge others who are treating others unfairly, give practical feedback. These leaders will listen to those who need it. In order to earn the respect and loyalty of your team you must learn to be empathetic. Becoming empathetic is not easy but with perseverance you can learn. These exercises will help.

Put yourself in someone else’s position. It’s easy to sustain your own point of view. However, to be a good leader you should take the time to look at situations from other people’s outlook.

Pay attention to body language. Body language tells others how you really feel about a situation, and the message you’re giving. Body language can be a real benefit in a leadership role, because you will be able to ascertain how someone really feels. This gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately. However, you should keep in mind that body language is not the most important aspect of determining someone’s feelings. For instance, when someone crosses their arms, it usually means that they’re not open for arguments. By crossing the arms, an obstacle is put in front of the body, as some sort of protection. There are many people who simply like to cross their arms for reasons other than shutting people out. So be careful how you read body language.

If you have a team member that is often asked to work late and begrudgingly accepts, then you should try to determine what the problem is. Do they have previous plans that have to be changed to accommodate your request? Perhaps the solution would be as simple as allowing the employee to come to work later in exchange for working late.

Social Skills
Leaders who do well in the social skills segment of emotional intelligence are great at imparting ideas to others. These leaders are also good at managing change and settling conflicts discreetly.
Leaders must know how to settle conflicts between their team members, customers, or vendors. Learning conflict resolution skills is vital if you want to succeed. Develop your communication skills. Proper communication is critical to good leadership. You should learn how to improve these skills. As a leader, you can improve the loyalty of your team easily by giving praise when it’s earned.

David G Komatz is a seasoned pro with over 46 years of accounting experience. Within those years he has gained 35 years experience in leadership, 15 years in HR management and 10+ years in fraud prevention and deterrence. He has a MBA in Forensic Accounting, MS in Organizational Leadership, two graduate certificates in criminal justice and HR management and is currently a student in a Doctor of Business Administration in Global Business and Leadership.

Organizational Commitment

The concept associated with employee commitment to business has gotten increasing recognition as it is going to help the business to retain additional staff members and thereby improve in performance, profitability and productivity. Commitment of staff is vital for a number of reasons, it’ll inevitably decrease employee turnover. Highly committed employees are going to tend to operate far more effectively than less committed workers with much more work satisfaction. Commitment of personnel is actually a much better sign of effectiveness of a company. Organizational commitment could be described as a people identification with and involvement in the particular business. It may be characterized by a minimum of 3 indicators like Acceptance of the business goals and values. Secondly willingness and ability to contribute considerable work to attain that values and goals and ultimately strong desire to keep on with the business.

The dynamics of the task is actually playing a crucial role in organizational dedication. Although a few scientific studies are actually conducted relating organizational commitment as well as Job design employee efficiency and functionality a lot of areas of the topic continue to be not covered. Attitude of staff members or perhaps the inspiration to operate in relation with organizational commitment and job satisfaction are actually crucial in the area of human resource management as well as organizational behavior perspective. Employee attitude has an immediate effect on all elements of business. Organizational commitment concentrates on complete curiosity of the employee towards the company rather compared to work. There’s a relationship between organizational dedication as well as job satisfaction, commitment results to work satisfaction however most scientific studies treat satisfaction and commitment differently.

Strategies of motivating Employees

Salary: Salary could be probably the most effective element influencing work satisfaction and commitment. For making use of salary as inspiration component supervisors must consider a number of things including job rate, private allowances, measurements of service, performance, personal characteristics etc.

Incentives: Money has the energy to draw in and retain. Providing different kinds of perks will keep staff driven and better dedicated to the business. Basically every staff is actually working for some kind of fiscal advantage, therefore the monetary advantage given to the staff members ought to be properly cover the standard of theirs of living and also competitive enough in the business otherwise employee turnover is higher for the business as well as the existing people won’t be motivated, rather frustrated employees cause reduced dedication to the business. So management must take enough interest and attention to keep the employees of theirs with pay that is good and rewards it is going to help to boost organizational commitment.

Staff training: This’s an important motivational element for all the organizations It’s an indispensable strategy for encouraging workers. This can provide info with newest development and technologies in the respective field of theirs of work. So that the workers will feel self-confident and built with brand new strength to work much more efficiently and scientifically, ultimately it’ll improve productivity and motivation.