Teamwork, Positive Work Environment Often Overlooked Keys to Successful Business Operation

Promoting a team culture vs. a tyrannical culture can make a big difference in employee production and growth.

One thing I have learned in my professional career is fast growing, successful companies tend to have something in common: they develop a winning company by promoting a “team” culture. These companies are very intentional about promoting such cultures and these team cultures tend to revolve around showing appreciation to employees and inspiring them to be more and to do more. 

We all want our customers to be raving fans (a la the book) of our businesses, but it will rarely happen unless the employees are also raving fans of the business. 

The opposite of the team culture, which is all too prevalent, is the “tyrannical” culture. In this culture, the boss exerts absolute power and authority over employees and frequently threatens them with being fired. Rather than encourage their employees, many of these bosses constantly degrade their employees. 

If a mistake is made, these types of bosses will jump all over the employee and will be prone to rant and rave. However, if an employee does well, the boss might make a comment such as, “Well they’re just doing their job.” 

This culture sucks the life out of people and virtually nobody can flourish in such an environment. In true ironic fashion, many “tyrannical” leaders actually believe that theirs is the only way to get results from people. They are so wrong. Most of us have experienced such a culture in our professional career and I dare say that none of us want any part of it. 

A much better path to success is to build a team culture where all employees are valued and understand their role in the company. In the team culture, employees are given positive reinforcement and encouragement as well as educational tools to help them advance themselves.

While there are leaders and bosses within the team culture, their leadership is marked by humility and servanthood. They live lives that inspire others and they duplicate themselves in their employees through encouragement and support. This is the true definition of leadership.

I also want to emphasize the role of education in the development of an employee. I encourage companies to invest in their employees by providing them with educational tools to help the employees succeed.

In a team culture, every employee is valuable and the company wins and loses as a team. These types of companies are readily recognized by the family-type atmosphere that they develop.

Team-oriented companies often hold employee recognition events and have fun in the process. And no one person is exalted above the team. While there are leaders and bosses within the team culture, their leadership is marked by humility and servanthood. They live lives that inspire others and they duplicate themselves in their employees through encouragement and support. This is the true definition of leadership.

Team leaders earnestly want to see their team members thrive and maximize their potential. They celebrate their team member’s victories and console them in their defeats. They praise in public and discipline in private. And discipline in this culture is often meted out in the form of “coaching” where the employee is encouraged to use the negative experience to learn from and better themselves. 

A big reason this culture tends to succeed is it builds “promoters” within the company. Happy employees tend to attract others to the company. A receptionist who answers the phone with a polite and cheerful greeting is an awesome promoter of the company. The company receptionist, for better or for worse, is the company’s “Director of First Impressions.” When the phone is answered by a content and confident person, their attitude comes through the phone and attracts the caller to the company through a positive first experience.
In like manner, virtually all employees in team-oriented companies become great reflections of their company culture to the world at large. Through their positive attitudes, they become active promoters of their companies. When employees feel good about their employers, prospects tend to feel good about those companies. In this sense, everyone in the company is involved in sales because their positive attitudes sell the company. 

Existing customers who have great experiences with these types of employees are quick to refer that company. Even more important, prospects that encounter such employees will feed off the positive experience and will be more prone to buy. 

If you’re a business owner and you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Well, my company culture is nothing like that,’ I encourage you to consider reinventing yourself. Many times the company culture is built by behaviors trickling down, but there was never any thought given to the development of a specific type of culture.

Again, I encourage all company owners and leaders to consider building a team culture. It is never too late. It can start with a company meeting where the “top dog” addresses the troops and lays out their plan to build and promote a new “team” culture. There may even be a need to state that ‘it’s a new day’ and from now on, things are going to be done differently.  I actually experienced this in a company I worked for in the 1990s and after our leader addressed us, the company soared to new heights and became wildly successful. It also became much more fun to work for that company. 

So for the “top dogs” out there, I encourage you to put yourself in your employee’s shoes and to build the type of team culture in which you would want to work.

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About the Author


Mark Matlock is Senior Vice President at United Central Control, a division of Lydia Security Monitoring Inc.

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