The style of leadership within your company plays a pivotal role in forming its culture. It impacts your business environment, the drive of your team, and fundamentally, the sustainability of your organisation.
Leaders who instil a positive environment and working culture will enjoy the benefits of a highly involved and driven team, with everyone pulling in the same direction for a central cause.
It’s evident that leadership has an impact – be it positive or negative – on employee engagement and behaviour.
Every leader – at any level – strives to perform to the best of their ability, naturally, they want their team (and themselves) to be successful in all they do.
Leaders may measure this success in different ways, such as implementing performance benchmarks, such as turnover or output targets, for their teams. The same can be said for altruistic sectors such as charities and affordable housing when compared to private or public companies.
It’s possible, however, that this drive for success can create various performance pressures. The focus on output quality or unattainable financial or non-financial targets can lead to a self-serving work ethos, be outweighed, creating a toxic working environment which is damaging to both delivery of your organisation’s services and employee health as a direct result of stress due to increased pressures.
A negative working culture can incite countless risks to your business and worse, to those they serve. Arguably most significantly, it can impact your team’s morale. A disconnected or disengaged team will have little alignment to your company’s mission and values, especially if they are merely statements which are not displayed through the actions in your company’s senior employees.
The lack of engagement from employees, alongside a highly pressured working environment can increase the presence of a toxic culture – leaving employees mentally fatigued. This can distort an employee’s ability to make morally-sound decisions, making your team more susceptible to out-of-character decisions or behaviours in a cauldron of pressure.
No employee’s moral compass is fixed to point due north. It can shift if leaders create a culture which influences the sense of need for self-protection which can occur when the strains of what is expected of an employee is perceived as unattainable.
It is often cited that pressure is the cause for dishonest activity, as many employees use this to rationalise their dishonest behaviour.
Pressure on employees is not always an external factor – it can be as a result of poor leadership. Its influence on workplace culture means it can create a highly pressurised environment. This has the potential to leave an employee feeling disenchanted and in some cases, can lead to dishonest activity as a last resort or simply an act of not caring to protect their employer. Otherwise good and moral employees may act deceitfully, possibly due to the fear of losing their jobs.
Instilling a positive culture will reduce the risk of insider fraud within an organisation. The culture needs to be evident to everyone in your teams – from leadership to the frontline employees.
Trust should flow both ways between a leader and their team. This trust will create a culture of openness and information sharing, which acts as a crucial preventative measure against fraudulent or dishonest activity. It also shows care and a desire to protect. Belief in your employees gives them safety and a by-product of that is the desire of employees to then look out for their employer.
Taking measures to ensure your team believes in your organisation, its mission and values, having a culture of zero tolerance on dishonest behaviour will ensure that they contribute to protection measures. It may also make them more likely to communicate with you if they are unhappy in their role – helping you to prevent the disenchantment that can lead to fraudulent activity.
Look after your team and they will look after your business.
Put yourself in the shoes of your employees. Ask yourself, would I be happy? Would I want something to change? Having this different mindset will help to protect your business from fraud.
A business’ team are its eyes and ears. Engage with your team and instil a positive culture through leadership and they will engage with you in return.
For more information on how you can prevent employee disengagement through management of your leadership and culture, get in touch.