Skip to content


How would you describe the culture of your team, department or organization?

Culture at its simplest is “the way things are done around here” and is based on the values, attitudes, beliefs and expectations we share. Typically the tone for any organizational unit is set by the leader of that unit. Thinking of expectations: expectations are what we think will happen, while reality is what actually transpires. While we hope these two will match up, sometimes they don’t. This disparity of expectations vs. reality may lead to feelings of discontentment and unhappiness. As a leader it’s helpful to set out your expectations of your team and equally important to ask the team what they expect from you. Sharing expectations is a big step towards mutual accountability.

Here are some of the expectations I’ve experienced from teams I’ve led, and which definitely impacted the culture of the team.

1. You’ll lead with Integrity

An ethical organization starts with ethical leaders. We demonstrate integrity in how we handle challenging situations or deal with conflict. When we are transparent, we prove ourselves honest and trustworthy and when we cannot share information –we say so.

2. We’ll Keep Our Commitments

Trust is a key factor in the success of any team. When we keep our word and do what we said we would do, we build trust, and this is a foundation for great teamwork.

3. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

The simplest way to show respect to team members is to listen to them, value their perspective, ask what they think and welcome their input. People don’t just want to follow instructions, they like to have an input and share their expertise.

4. You’ll Be Consistent

Treat everyone equally and value consistent behavior. What constituted a good job yesterday should still be a good job today. When we are not consistent in our approach, our teams become anxious about how we will respond, and this never brings out the best in individuals or in the team performance.

5. We’ll Achieve Something

Reaching goals gives a team of sense of achievement and of worth. When we focus on what is important and set out goals clearly, the team is more likely to succeed and everyone knows the direction the team is headed.

6. You’ll Tell Us What You Think

Mistakes happen, but they can be learning opportunities. Timely, constructive feedback helps teams recover from mistakes without dwelling on them. Also, praise and recognition within the team, and beyond, is motivating and rewarding for everyone.

7. We’re In This Together!

Whether things go well or go badly, the leader is a part of the team and can’t disassociate from it. It’s not your “fault” or their “fault” –it’s our responsibility AND our success

Articel by Morag Mathieson

First Vice President at Toastmasters International