Culture is the attitudes, behaviors and interactions that make up the work environment. As such, it has two sides or components to it — the intellectual and the emotional.
And while it’s certainly not always true, our experience across 20 years in tech is that engineering and product founders often underestimate - if not outright ignore - the emotional side of culture.
It’s common to see tech founders prioritize curiosity, speed, execution, results and, accountability — which are all great and important. But so are trust, respect, collaboration, teamwork, empathy, and inclusion.
In generations past, emotions in the workplace were shunned. Thankfully, we are moving into a new era where emotions are seen as a normal - and positive - part of bringing one’s whole self to work.
Research shows that emotional culture influences many things, such as employee satisfaction, burnout, teamwork, and even hard measures such as financial performance and absenteeism.
Great Leaders of the 21st Century Go Deeper
The most successful companies - and leaders - of the 21st century are (and will be) ones that care.
Personal care is what builds solid relationships and establishes psychological safety. It is what allows employees at all levels to challenge directly in a fast feedback environment (read: Radical Candor).
When people feel safe, they tend to take chances they might not otherwise take and are more inclined to speak up and share their ideas about what’s working and what is not.
In a time when collaboration and teamwork are more important than ever, a focus on how you care for people is paramount.
Many of today's leadership buzzwords - empathy, compassion, vulnerability - are heart-based. Why? Because modern workforces want to feel that their leaders care about them. That they lead not just with their head, but also their heart.
For emotions and personal care to be a part of company culture it has to first be modeled by the company leaders.
Millenials and younger generations bring their whole selves to work, and so they expect you to do the same.
But no matter someone’s demographic, the bottom line is this: People want to care about their companies and their work, and they want their companies to care about them.