High Performance Cultures Start with Strong Leadership

Leaders are a driving force in our institutions. Be it educational, medical, or corporate institutions, leaders are known to provide the right direction, and inspire others. Effective and strong leadership in an organization can nurture a great and high-performing company culture.

Leaders are a driving force in our institutions. Be it educational, medical, or corporate institutions, leaders are known to provide the right direction, and inspire others. Effective and strong leadership in an organization can nurture a great and high-performing company culture. 

Ordinarily, nurturing and building strong corporate cultures is relegated to the HR team. But in essence, it should be a concern for all the top leadership. The point is, potential investors, job candidates, existing staff, and even regulators all expect their organizations’ leaders to be responsible for the direction of their company culture. 

In this article, we will look at how strong leadership can foster a thriving culture in an organization. 

Why leadership is imperative to organizational culture

Leaders are the drivers of organizations; they significantly influence the direction of their company culture. It is the responsibility of leaders to clearly define the mission, goals, and core values that their company should take on. And they still have to communicate and induce the same to the workforce. 

What this means is that in creating a performance-driven culture, leaders are indispensable as their leadership style, behavior, and even decisions have a significant effect on the organizational culture. So, strong leadership is and will always be important for an organizational culture to thrive. 

How leaders can foster a thriving organizational culture

Every employee has an impact on the success of the organization. But, as much as the workforce contributes to the direction of the organization, it is the leadership that has by far the biggest and most direct impact on the organizational culture. Strong leadership will empower the entire organization to create a positive environment for a thriving company culture. 

Interestingly, research by Gartner found out that only 31 percent of leaders feel they know how to get their culture to perform. This is especially true if the business experiences a major change or disruption like the ongoing pandemic or after an acquisition. However, one thing is for sure, you can always look into leadership coaching and development for better cultural and overall business performance. All the same, here are some of the measures every organization’s leaders can take to create high-performance cultures. 

1. Creating a culture that performs

Now that you know that leadership can significantly impact the company culture, the big question is how to create a high-performance culture. It is no secret that an organization can have a culture that does not drive results or perform to the set expectations. And as a result, an organization’s leaders may find themselves scratching their heads trying to align the employees with their cultures for better performance. 

For instance, organizations may gamble with different measures, such as changing their workforce with new personnel they think can fit in their desired culture, or customizing their recruiting strategy to only acquire talent that can conform to their culture. But in as much as that may be right, layoffs and expensive recruiting processes may not be the best approach. Instead, here are three things that leaders need to look into:

  • Knowledge: They should ensure that employees know and understand the company culture, especially during mergers, acquisitions, and other major changes. 
  • Mindset: Effective and influential leadership should ensure that employees believe in the culture by inducing it into them.
  • Behavior: Leaders should control and ensure that the entire organization behaves in a way that bolsters the company culture.

By satisfying these conditions, workforce-cultural alignment will be a no-brainer, thus ensuring that the culture drives performance. 

2. Maximizing leadership impact

Leaders must exemplify and leverage what they want – expected cultural norms should be demonstrated by the top leadership. Unfortunately, information coming from top leadership is usually distorted along the way to the frontline employees. And that ought to change! Furthermore, to capitalize on their effect, leaders need to do more than just communicating and behaving according to the expected organizational culture. 

For example, they should ensure their operations, processes, and decisions are a reflection of the company culture. While setting budgets, structures, policies, among other important decisions, they should integrate their company culture. And these operations should be maintained from the top to the frontline workers. It’s the responsibility of the leadership to follow up and check on the progress and allow for any changes. Essentially, this will bolster the workforce-cultural alignment. 

3. Resolving cultural tensions

At some point, employees may experience cultural tensions. They can be caught in a dilemma when faced with more than one cultural norm. And it’s common for organizations to experience cultural tensions. With time, our organizations grow and adjust, business environments evolve, and sometimes stakeholders aim at different outcomes. All these can result in cultural tensions, which if not addressed by the leadership, can affect the company culture. 

So an organization’s leadership should assist employees to decide on what causes of action to take, whenever they’re faced with cultural tensions. For instance, being cost-centered or customer-centric is a good example of cultural tension that employees normally face in their day-to-day work. If leaders fail to support employees when they’re faced with cultural tensions, they can get stressed, making them underperform, or worse, quit their jobs. 

Wrap up

With strong and effective leadership, your employees will know what the company culture is, believe in it, and thus, behave/act according to expectations. This will consequently impact the organizational culture, leading to positive business outcomes. And remember that communication is vital. In case of any major changes, leadership should communicate and engage with the workforce through feedback sessions or even one-on-one sessions. 

An organization’s leadership will always impact culture. They can lead the line and drive entire organizations into high-performance cultures. 

Join Our Newsletter!

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Request A Demo

We Develop The World's Most Impactful Leaders

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video

Piyush Gupta

Chief Product Officer

Piyush Gupta is Chief Product Officer at Sounding Board and champions the voice of customers and users with deep empathy. Piyush envisions Sounding Board to be the first window of coaching experience for professionals and leaders worldwide. His approach is deeply rooted in proven scientific research, modeling human behaviors, and data-informed insights to deliver mindset shifts and desired business outcomes for organizations at scale. He believes that a world-class UX is key to drive simplicity that will lead to millions of professionals to access coaching for their development.

Piyush co-invented the world’s first ‘landmark intelligent driving directions’ technology that led Google to redesign their routing algorithms for the Asian markets. For the next decade, he led two disruptive FinTech companies to the market leadership positions and delivered two award-winning products that serve more than 70 million users worldwide. His teams filed 20+ patents while he himself authored three patents. He is an active startup investor and advises selected AI-driven startups on business and product strategy. He is the recipient of the World Summit Award, one of the most prestigious international honors for product innovators. In addition, he is a James Swartz fellow, the most prestigious fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University funded by the founder of the iconic venture firm, Accel Partners.

Piyush holds an MS in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Tommy Perkins


Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

Learn How to Build Agile and Productive Leaders Now!

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We respect your privacy! Your information will not be shared

Join our coaching team

Our expert coaches combine top notch coaching, business acumen and organizational savvy to truly become your leadership “Sounding Board”. Sounding Board coaches are all industry certified and strongly vetted going through a 3 step qualification process and receiving ongoing supervision and development.

Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & CCO Sounding Board, Inc.
Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.
Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

Want to learn more about how Sounding Board can help your organization?

Simply fill out the form below and we will be in contact soon. If you are interested in becoming a Sounding Board Coach please visit our careers page.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.