How managers affect company culture blog

How Managers Affect Company Culture

Written in collaboration with ANU’s Dean of Business, Dr. Lyndsey Obringer.

The environment in our workplace can make or break even the best jobs for employees. For the Great Resignation, a phenomenon in American workers leaving their workplaces – the mass amounts the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported they haven’t seen since 2000 – centered around workers leaving the toxic environments of their jobs. MIT Sloan reported that between April and September of 2021, more than 24 million Americans quit their jobs. While company culture is created by all those who work within a company, it is on managers and supervisors to provide the basis for a positive workplace environment. There’s a common saying that many employees don’t quit their job, they quit their managers. We’ll explore the ways that the leaders of an organization can create a positive company culture and the benefits of doing so.

What is Company Culture?

As Built In describes, company culture “refers to the set of values, goals, attitudes and practices that people within an organization share, which gives a company its distinct identity.”

Built In says that your company culture can be described in some common words, such as: adventurous, collaborative, fast-paced, or inclusive, among many. Company culture is how your organization is defined from the outside and from those working within. Managers from every level have a profound impact on the culture as they interact with the core employees creating a lot of the productivity for an organization.

Create Clear Mission Statements and Core Values

Organizations should make their goals and values clear to their employees in all senses. Not only should the company market their goals, but they should be present within the organization. As Forbes describes, “it is crucial that demonstrable actions are taken regularly so that the employees feel an individual and personal responsibility towards these values.” If your organization is adamant on being a green company, your company culture should reflect and communicate that. In your branding, your company may boast using recycled products. It should also be present in your office spaces with recycling bins present, biodegradable products, and more. In this way, your employees feel more connected to the core values.

If all the employees are following these core values, then that leads to a positive company culture. Each employee has an established goal to follow. In the aforementioned green company, employee attitudes will match the positivity of the mission. And this will lead to better attitudes about the company and the environment employees are working in. And when new hires are brought on board, they should also align with company values to further this positive goal.

Communication Between All Departments

Something that will undoubtedly help improve your company culture is by creating an open line of communication between all employees. Company culture is not only for every employee but made by every employee. If there are no clear lines of communication from employees in different departments, supervisors, managers, and above, it can stilt company culture. Poor communication can create mistrust, lower morale, and unclear deadlines to lead to stress and burnout.

It falls on a manager to facilitate and open the lines of communication within an organization. In places like a retail environment, the store manager will be the one every employee speaks with in the store. Not only that, but the manager is the line to the people higher up in the company, like district managers, HR, and higher. It is imperative that a manager communicates well with their employees and bosses to help facilitate the business. Employees will follow the manager’s lead in communicating, leading them to not only communicate with their colleagues, but to create more of a positive atmosphere.

Why a Positive Environment is Important

A positive company culture allows employees to be proud of where they work and what their workplace does. As Dr. Pragya Agarwal with Forbes said, “When people take pride, they invest their future in the organization and work hard to create opportunities that will benefit the organization.” Managers have an even bigger impact on company culture as they directly work with their employees to create it. If a manager is not effective in their role, they can demotivate employees and cause their productivity to fall or to even leave the company overall. When a manager does their job well and upkeeps the culture, employees will work harder in their careers and provide more for the organization they are working within.

Additionally, from ANU’s Dean of Business programs, Dr. Lyndsey Obringer: For anyone who is a Ken Blanchard fan, he stresses the importance of the upside-down pyramid, which is also a key element of servant leadership. The upside-down pyramid takes the traditional hierarchy pyramid where the high-level management titles sit at the top and it is replaced with employees. The idea is that leaders create a culture where treating your employee is top priority and in turn those employees will treat the customer well. It seems so easy but so many organizations get it wrong. Employees know when they are valued and unfortunately many organizations fail to realize or make this a priority until it is too late. Students can use concepts from this class to build practical skills and apply them directly into their careers to start making a difference.

How Does American National University Help?

At American National University, our Business Administration Management program can teach you the skills you need to be an effective manager or supervisor. The Business and Accounting Department offers a course in Supervision which allows our students the potential to earn a Certified Supervisor certification through the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM). Many of our students come into this class with experience as a supervisor or with goals of advancing into management so it is great to see them connecting learning to application in the real world. This course looks at management through the lens of supervisors, or the first-line managers. Students start to see the importance that managers play in creating culture and supporting the varied needs of employees to accomplish organizational goals. However, organizational culture starts with top management and trickles down. Throughout various courses in our business degree programs students study organizational culture and the impact that leaders and manager play in creating a positive culture that supports measurable outcomes such as job satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.

Current ANU Business student, Ashley Hart, says this class was invaluable to her role leading her team within a banking organization. She says, “it has allowed me to lead my team a lot better through different struggles and obstacles, while maintaining that management is at the heart of what I do… It has allowed me to shift my way of managing and leading my team.” She has bettered her communication with her employees and supports them in their daily work projects.

To learn more about our Business Administration Management program and what it can bring to your management skills, go to

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