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Leadership drives culture - not HR!

As HR professionals, we often get asked what we can do to change culture within a business. It is always a question that irks me a little as in my view there are two key drivers of culture and that is leadership and standards.


Sure, HR professionals can provide tools to support culture improvement, but we can’t magic up a change in culture without strong and disciplined leadership that is committed to raising the bar.


Culture is driven by the behaviours your employees (at all levels) exhibit consistently on a day to day basis. A businesses standards set the benchmark and allows every individual the chance to know what is expected of them in terms of important things like behaviour, attitudes, values, health and safety, quality, attendance etc etc.


Having discipline around standards, and leadership that is committed to ensuring those standards are met allows tasks to be completed consistently to expectation, it ensures that negative behaviour will not be tolerated, it means that taking unnecessary risks which lead to injury (or potential injury) will not be accepted, and arriving late to work consistently will be dealt with so it doesn’t repeatedly occur.


High performing teams such as the All Blacks don’t achieve continued success at the level they do by having mediocre standards and passive leadership. They strive on ensuring strong leadership exists in creating a high standard around preparation, planning and execution and they nail it first time - anything less is not acceptable. Sure, they can make errors from time to time, but taking accountability for those mistakes means they, and the team, learn from it and move on.


From an HR perspective, we can certainly provide value in supporting organisations and their leaders with changing or improving their culture. We can suggest and implement initiatives and framework that set the standard around values, policies, procedures, performance etc etc but it is vital that leaders own those initiatives and drive the standards.

If you’re interested in hearing more get in touch with The HR Guy:


M: 021 543 510

E: dylan@thehrguy.nz

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