How to Define Work Culture

Whenever I think about a business, I always wonder what the culture is like. I want to know how the team works together, how much authority each person has in their role, what the priorities are, and how the team handles difficult situations. This isn’t something that I used to think about but as I moved through my career with increasing responsibility, it became important to understand.

I was always aware that how a leader leads is important, but the culture part came later. We don’t learn about culture as we are moving through the ranks, we experience it. Only today this is a conversation with the evolution of conscious leadership.

Culture is largely defined by the organizational leader. It is how this person behaves that defines the culture—how they show up, how they respond to stress, how they prioritize their life and value others, and how they communicate. This gives everyone else permission, both good or bad.

The business world is complex. There are too many variables so it is important to focus on the basics of behavior. It’s impossible to train your team on how to behave in every situation but laying the foundation of a healthy culture can deliver positive and thoughtful interactions at all levels, which is integral to good decision making.


Always remember:

  • Be kind and be real
  • Don’t expect everyone to work and learn the same way
  • Allow time for conversation and encourage people to question
  • Admit you don’t know or you are wrong
  • Allow people to fail
  • Grant people authority and mean it


Work culture is critical to the success of the business. Employees are your first customers. They create ambassadors of your culture everywhere they go. Make sure their experience is one that demonstrates value, so that is what they lead with.