Organisational Culture and the importance of feelings

Think of organisations you’ve worked for. Which one is your favourite?


What do you remember about it? Your colleagues, the building, the work?


Or was it the way it made you feel: proud, challenged, energised, hopeful or perhaps even ‘at home’?’


What about your favourite leader? Do you remember how they dressed, what they said or do you remember how you felt when they spoke to you?


Or was it simply the bragging rights from being part of a high performance team, doing things that mattered…how good did it feel to say you worked for ‘X’ the very first time?


We join organisations for community. We give our best and we stay because of how we feel.


As a leader in your organisation, it is your job to make sure that the emotional experience people have when they engage with your organisational culture is intentional and memorable.


Research by Daniel Siegel, Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute offers insights on how to do this. We derive our sense of identity not just from who we are, but what we are part of. Our brains produce a ‘we’ map which shows our part in the bigger whole. Leaders who get this connect individuals to a bigger purpose, honour individual differences and proactively build connections between individuals, teams and across the organisation.


This style of leadership fits with our basic human nature to be part of a ‘we’, rather than a solitary ‘I’. It creates an organisational culture where people thrive and engage. Not because they have to but because the organisation has become part of who they are.


Ask yourself how you want your people to feel when they come to work and then ask your people the same question. See if the answers align. If they do you are doing a wonderful job creating your desired organisational culture. If not then you’ve got work to do because people don’t always remember what you achieved, but they always remember how you made them feel.