Much has been said about setting a team culture, coming from heart, sorting out who you stand for and why. But less is written on the maintenance of your culture which will be an ongoing process for you as an employee or leader of your team.

Culture starts with you and will permeate through you as you work with your team. This is a mindset game and a daily practice to embody. It’s about being a good person firstly, and secondly allowing that goodness to inspire those around you to be the same.

To start here are some qualities of a great team culture:

  • Give feedback and receive it willingly.

  • Communicate honestly and openly.

  • Comfortable being uncomfortable.

  • Have hard discussions.

  • Resist passive aggressiveness.

  • Share knowledge generously.

  • Ask questions before reacting.

  • Use good judgement and are self-aware, respectful and be humble.

  • Are accountable to and support of one another.

  • Clean up after themselves.

  • Follow the manual.

  • Bring someone a coffee when they need it.

These are great as start points and are abstract enough to be able to be applied to your situation. Where the rubber really hits the road is in how these values are performed in your day-to-day. At Stormer Music I have set the following rules which inform how we actually embody the values we say we have. I share them here as an example would encourage you to come up with your own.

What kind of leader are you?

If you are a friend/mentor in-the-trenches kind of boss you will really connect with your team but may find it challenging to pull rank, uphold behaviour and challenge negativity. If you are more distant you will struggle to connect with your team but you will find it easier to maintain control and keep things running on time. To find your boss/leadership style, this will take some time but some basic personality profiling like DISC will help you very much along the way by understanding how you like to be communicated to. You should apply these to how you lead especially to those who you clash with or disagree with.

The golden rule of feedback

When giving feedback it is our rule that you cannot simply criticise but you must offer a solution – that is a positive and empowered way of handling trouble and pegs you as one who is here to help and create solutions not complain and perpetuate the problems.

Hire slow and fire fast

Be mindful who you let into your team and do not hire out of desperation, make sure they are the right fit for you. The cost to hire and train someone is significant (time and money) and the cost to your studio (and potentially your sanity) for a bad staff member can be catastrophic. Likewise when you notice negativity in your team, address it quickly, it will otherwise bleed into other areas, other staff members, your students and more. It is not an easy balance to strike but so important to address vigilantly.

Clean the bathroom

Be the person who is willing to get in and get things done if needed. Lead by example and lead from within, do not ask of your team more than you are prepared to do yourself. Of course do not micro manage and insist on doing everything yourself but do not put yourself in a position that your team may come to resent and do not lose touch of the front line experience of your students and staff.