Matt Tenney over at Fast Company has a great piece up right now about building and sustaining team culture. In the article, Tenney profiles David Niu, a successful tech entrepreneur who recently took a long sabbatical in order to travel the world obtaining knowledge from the planet's keenest entrepreneurial minds. Niu's newest venture, an employee engagement program called TINYPulse, reflects the important lessons he learned about a leader's responsibility to keep his or her employees happy.

Like an office meteorologist, an employer who keeps tabs on the emotional climate of his or her workers is more likely to ward off the sorts of storms that result in low productivity and turnover. Such is the thinking behind Nui's TINYPulse, an automated survey system that allows employees to submit anonymous feedback via short weekly questionnaires. The resulting data allows leaders to assess "the pulse" of their team. In a way, it's like checking the forecast and keeping an eye out for storm systems, though unlike the weathermen and -women on TV, users are able to to harness gathered information to enact positive change.

Of course, there's much more to building office culture than simply collecting surveys. According to Niu, a lot depends on company values, adhering to those values, and making sure your employees feel comfortable. Members of your team will do their best work and produce the brightest ideas when they're happy. The trick for most leaders is how to tell when they're not.

Outside of TINYPulse, you as a leader can ensure that you make time to reach out to each member of your team. Build relationships and chat about things unrelated to work. Empower Human Resources and give them the tools they need to become employee advocates and problem solvers. Ask for constant feedback and don't promote an atmosphere where speaking out becomes dangerous.

These can be difficult strategies for a leader, especially since so much depends on balancing humility with order. Do you have any particular office culture strategies that have worked for you? Or have you found yourself too often being the Michael Scott of your company? Let us know in the comments.

Keep reading at Fast Company

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