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Part 2: Inspiring workplaces cultures to thrive and the role of leaders.

Updated: Mar 1


We all understand leaders play a role in culture and are central to cultivating a thriving workplace, but how much of a role do they play?


Well, they are the most consistent element across all research, new and old, with the research suggesting leaders are the primary influences of what people see, hear, feel and experience, and make up

70% of what shapes & drives workplace culture.

Leaders are sighted as key drivers of workplace culture across multiple research pieces (Berson 2008 Ogbonna & Harris, 2000 and Tsui et al., 2006).  And McKinsey found in their high-performance team’s research in 2017 that 90% of investors think the quality of the management team is the single most important nonfinancial factor.

And, poor culture is to blame for the deterioration of employee engagement and satisfaction. Culture is a critical factor in workplaces success because it not only influences employee satisfaction and retention, but also profits and productivity (Berson, Oreg & Dvir, 2008). 


The happier and more fulfilled your people are can be linked directly to your leaders.


It’s fair to say the quality of your leadership determines the experience of your people, which ultimately determines the experience of your customers. And the experience of your customers determines your brand reputation. Right?

Is this shaping organisational behaviour? 

Most businesses today measure and report on culture, at a team, leader, executive and board level, so CULTURE is at the core of strategy and these practices are fast becoming best practice. How is this shaping what is expected of leaders today? 

The role of leaders in today’s VUCA world is rapidly changing, with many external factors contributing to this change.

When we ask teams to define what great leadership is, essentially their NorthStar, we see a pull towards accountability for culture and staff engagement.  A demand for harmonising teams and being more purposeful in their endeavours.  To bring the organisation's values to life, being a role model for others.  They’ve got to be a beacon, a guiding light for their team and peers and the organisation.

Leaders must cultivate trust requiring authenticity and vulnerability and drive change for the organisation to innovate and stay relevant, at a faster pace than ever before, requiring them to build psychological safety.

They must be able to nurture connection and belonging, requiring empathy and social awareness.  

And understand when their behaviour diminishes any of these elements.

They must be aware of their own biases to promote diversity, equity and fairness.

And, they need to cultivate a positive workplace environment, therefore managing tension and conflict quickly and effectively.  As well as manage teams that are digitally and geographically and expertly spread.  

And so, the shift from high performance to thriving is shaking up how we lead! 

Let me finish off by sharing some of our experiences when it comes to starting your workplace culture journey. 

  • Don’t see culture as a project, it requires continuous effort and accountability at a leadership level first.

  • Know where you are heading and have targets and ensure everyone plays a role, because people will assume giving you feedback is enough.

  • Ensure everyone plays a role in discussing what action is needed to drive change.

  • If you are following best practice and using culture tools, do not make the score the focus, talking to the data instead of to the stories.

  • Having a tool is not a replacement for leaders driving team and 1-2-1 conversations. 

  • We can guarantee you a tool is not enough, leaders need scaffolding to support them to change culture. 

  • Most importantly, when you reach that thriving zone, don’t assume it will be sustained, it takes energy to sustain it.


PQfactor is a tool created by leaders for leaders and organisations to go beyond engagement.  Using contemporary research and language, relatable to today's leaders, to describe areas that inspire your workplaces to thrive.


PQfactor takes a top-down view, focusing on outcomes.

With six overarching factors representing 27 outcomes, our intention is to drive innovation, meaningful impact and continuous improvement.


It’s more than an engagement survey, PQfactor provides insight into psychological safety, team mood and thriving based on emerging research. 

If you'd like to know more, schedule a time for a demo. suria@peopleq.com.au


An interesting read;



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