How would you describe your culture?

Passive aggressive behaviors, gossip, lack of transparency, raging egos and unrealistic expectations are likely not the cultures that any of us seek. Yet, many of us have experienced one, if not all, of thse at some point in our careers. Ask yourself:

  • What are three words or phrases that describe your teams’ culture?
  • What are three words or phrases that describe your company’s culture?
  • Are those words the same, or different? And why?

Executives at the top usually set the tone and culture of the organization. Their direct reports often define employee engagement and how they feel about their work. If these individuals are unsettled, insecure, or striving to prove their worth, internal fears can seed their actions and pollute the team or entire corporate culture. Culture starts within. Ask yourself:

  • Do I trust myself and my decisions?
  • Do I live more in fear than abundance?
  • Do I empower or diminish others?
  • Do I need to be right?

Many of us must do the internal work to evolve from being a boss to a leader. Leaders empower people, creating an environment that encourages others to stretch with support, constructive feedback and redirection, or refocus when necessary. Leaders assess project expectations to optimize impact.

Bosses primarily focus on themselves, their reputation and their career track. They lead with fear and threats, often overcommitting their teams to too many projects out of fear that others will think they are not good enough.

Leaping from boss to leader is not always easy but doing so can heavily influence the well-being of your relationships, teams and cultures. There are 10 steps you can take to shift from being a boss to being a leader.

  1. Assess your actions. What do you say, how do you respond and how do you think you make people feel?
  2. Get feedback. Leaders seek both positive and negative feedback to align their actions with their desired results.
  3. Evaluate your self-talk. How you talk to yourself often drives how you respond to others.
  4. Practice mindfulness. Be aware of your ego and how and when it shows up.
  5. Be honest with yourself. What fears and insecurities get the best of you? What inspires you?
  6. Find inspiring people. Podcasts, books and videos can provide great ideas and strategies.
  7. Adjust each day. You don’t have to make giant leaps. Small tweaks in your responses, questions, or comments can make a big impact.
  8. Take time away. Give your mind a break, explore activities to shift your energy and create space.
  9. Keep practicing. We are here to inspire, support and empower, even though our egos tell us otherwise.
  10. Watch for small shifts. Be aware of how others respond when we are present.

Good cultures take work. Some people are gifted with empowering others, but most must work at believing in themselves first before they can empower others. Give yourself the gift of time to understand how your thoughts and self-talk drive your action and belief in others. You are worth it, and your culture will benefit.

JJ DiGeronimo is President of Tech Savvy Women