MP chatted with Josh Saterman, founder of Saterman Connect, about building a positive company culture. Saterman partners with organizations, leaders, and high-potential talent to create customized leadership development experiences using executive coaching, leadership, and professional and career development coaching. 

His work includes leadership and individual contributor skills, and professional development. Saterman is a co-author of the leadership book “Arrive. Drive. Thrive,” alongside Nettie Nitzberg and Gerald Hutchinson.

How can leaders cultivate a culture of inclusive leadership throughout their organizations, and why does such inclusivity matter?

Leaders can cultivate a culture of inclusive leadership by thinking of inclusiveness through different lenses. 

We see trust, accountability, commitment, healthy and respectful debate, and understanding of the full dimensions of diversity that make up each of us as hallmarks of building inclusive leadership.  

These factors and foundational elements matter because this is high-performing teams innovate, reach more customers, expand categories, and find solutions to challenges faster.  

Inclusive leadership is a key to unlocking the full potential of an organization’s business.  

How important is recognizing employee achievements to developing a positive work culture, and why? 

Recognition is a big part of building an inclusive culture. 

Its importance is grounded in the fact that people generally and genuinely like to do a good job. Who wakes up each morning and wants to dread going to work? 

When you are recognized for your strengths, accomplishments, and value, you show up with positivity and initiative to continue doing your best. 

What should celebrating employees’ milestones and achievements look like, and why?

Ask your people this question: 

What does success look like, and how do you like to be recognized?  

Each person’s responses will vary, and these answers matter. Just like dimensions of diversity vary by person, so too do recognition and success factors. 

We can be stronger, more influential, and better inclusive leaders by acting as one team and treating each person on the team as an individual. 

For example, while performance metrics for a sales team might be similar to precisely the same, how the person accomplishes those metrics or goals might vary. How will you, as a leader, show up for that person and allow them to be themselves, maximize their strengths, and accomplish the company’s definition of success? 

According to The American Institute of Stress, 83% of American workers suffer from work-related stress. What are three out-of-the-box ways leaders can help reduce their employees’ work-related stress and add to positive work culture, and why these three?

1. Provide Your Team With Mental Health Breaks

This means intentionally providing your team with one or two spans of time or days to think, act, and get their job done without additional meetings. 

I used to block days for people to work with who they wanted, as they wanted to allow them to accomplish their jobs. 

Think of this like an offsite that’s happening onsite.  

2. Ask More Powerful and Clear Questions

Support your team by understanding their prioritization and how that supports the team’s or company’s goals. Helping people prioritize and work is key to lowering stress levels.

3. Be a Brilliant Coach

Leaders need to make decisions faster with far fewer answers in today's world. 

Leaders have to empower their teams. One way to accomplish this is through strong and meaningful coaching. Coaching allows people to create presence, mindfulness, and awareness. As a result, coaching will support a colleague or direct report thinking and rising above the doing, ultimately allowing them to think about solutions and ways forward, lifting their mentality out of the tactic alone and into the strategy of why they are doing “x” task. 

This is powerful in reducing stress. 

People in control often feel less stressed about change, shifting priorities, and other factors that cause stress in the workplace. 

Not all environments need creators. However, what value can developing a creator work culture add to an organization, what might that culture look like, and how does one develop it from the ground up?

All employees or colleagues can add value and create innovative thoughtfulness to support an organization’s growth. 

The question for leaders to consider is how you unlock each person’s creative capability. 

One way is to create an environment where people feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas. This ability for folks to share openly creates an environment where innovation and creating an open work culture can thrive. 

Developing this type of culture takes time. 

It also takes ensuring each of your team members is living with a growth mindset.  

Startups often require employees to do more for less and do so with smiles. How can leaders spot when employees are overworked, positively intervene, and what corrective actions should be taken, and why?

As a leader, it is critical to recognize burnout. 

Work to understand each person’s body language, their motivating factors (by asking them for them), and their definitions of success around a project, initiative, or annual goal. 

We highly recommend meeting with your direct reports weekly to connect, share priorities, and think strategically about where you impact the business.  

Does offering benefits such as four-day work weeks, unlimited PTO, health insurance, and the ability to work from home make up for toxic workplace cultures? If yes, how so? If not, why not?


People make companies. 

According to a recent Gallup poll, 58% of all people leave a job because of their boss.  

Benefits do not make up for lousy leadership.  

Your leaders are your best asset, period.  

Topic Contributors

Questions based in part on topics and comments provided by:

  1. Corey Ashton Walters, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Here
  2. Josh Saterman, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Saterman Connect
  3. Lorena Perez, Chief People Officer at Novakid
  4. Henry Penix, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Soaak Technologies
  5. Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek, Founder at HR Service Firm
  6. Michael Stern, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at We Are HeadStart
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