Workplace Culture – Does it Work for You? Make the Best of Your Communities

 In BLOG, Business, Culture, Leadership, Leading Change, Motivation, Thoughts

I was enlightened at the most recent luncheon and presentation on Group Engagement and Community Building at the Tampa Bay Professional Coaches Association (visit for more information). I took away something that I believe can translate and resonate into many things in life, including career and leadership.

The assignment was to think about what communities really work well for me and what it is about them that makes them so enjoyable, that I keep coming back. (Communities can be professional groups, societies, clubs, work or school groups, etc.) I took a minute to think about some of the best, most enjoyable, communities I am or have been a part of. Then, it was all very clear! I didn’t have to spend too much time trying to figure out what about them worked so well for me; I already knew. Those few communities consisted of people that were engaging, ready to go, welcoming, open… I wanted to say “happy” but it wasn’t the right word. I believe we simply made each other happier. I could socialize and make connections with them; I trust them. The communities fulfilled some part of me. (And don’t get me wrong, they were not perfect, we had good and bad times, but we worked though them together.)

As a group, we jotted down some common community characteristics that made our best communities, the best! The communities had a common goal and a shared vision and mission among the members. It made us feel supported, engaged, and energized. There was opportunity for growth and courage, the group members had different talents, and most importantly – there was trust. These characteristics essentially make up the culture of the community.

Now it is your turn: Think of an organization, department, company, or division that you were ever a part of that really worked well for you. What about that work community that made a difference for you? Why did it work? What did you get out of it? Why did you love it? Was it the people? Maybe it was the culture the place embodied? Did you have a great manager or leader? Did the office radiate some level of energy?

You have what works for you on the forefront, great. I hope you were able to see some commonalities in the work communities you chose. Something we did not discuss at the meeting was what does not work for us. So, think about some of the workplaces that did not work well for you? What kinds of characteristics are common among them? Was there no trust? Did you have a poor manager, leader, or group? Did you feel unengaged or unfulfilled? Was it missing a common goal, mission, or vision?

OK. Does your current organization, department, company, or division work well for you? Did it make the list of your top communities? Why or why not? 

Analyzing community characteristics made me realize a few things: 1) If you are in a work community that does not work for you, you have the option of leaving, 2) If you leave, you can now search for a new community that has the characteristics that work for you (culture), 3) If you can not leave, you have the power to be the enabler (the impetus) of the characteristics you seek because it starts with you – you choose where to spend your energy and others may feel the same, 4) If you realize you have a leader that will always trump your efforts (leaders set the tone, it all trickles down not up), then you gave it a chance and now you can leave, 5) If you still can’t leave, then consider the following – you have other communities you are a part of or can join that will work for you! Go find it!, 6) If you are a leader and the community is not working for you then a) you are not a leader because your community should inspire others and people should feel your passion, or b) have a conversation with your team or employees to find out what works for them and work on the characteristics everyone wants to experience, and c) be authentic, do what you want to see happen – be that energy – you are the leader.

“Courage = do the right thing while fearful”

I hope you are able to apply this to the various communities in your life and seek out those characteristics that work for you!



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  • Wes

    Vera, Thanks for these thoughts. I find it easy to be caught up in the "doing" and to neglect the "reflecting" dimension of my life. Your words were a gentle reminder of the power the comes from mindful reflection. Keep up the great work – and I like the photos!

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