How can a positive working environment be created, particularly where we have no authority to make changes?
The reality is that the attitude we bring to work plays a big part. From setting the tone at meetings by simple gestures such as smiling, our colleagues and especially our manager have a huge impact on our work experience. One of the best ways to improve others’ attitude is to model the behaviour we would like to see in them. Additionally, if we show respect, trust, patience and encouragement, we are more likely to receive them in return.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
To get the most out of your employees, you have to create a positive working environment for the entire team. When people feel encouraged, accepted and happy, they become more motivated and do better.
It takes time out of your day, but it can bring a sense of purpose to your work and result in dedicated performances. In any case, managers are responsible for nurturing their team, not just focussing on outcomes.
WHAT CAN THE ORGANISATION DO?
Employee Surveys/Newsletter/Blog/Suggestion Scheme
These are ideal methods to promote team responsibilities in creating a positive environment. Feedback generated on issues such as trust, communication, appreciation, work-life balance, and available opportunities.
They can also be used to decide whether employees (managers in particularly) feel equipped to create and support a positive environment.
This is important, particularly for managers, so that they are clear about the responsibilities of their role, and their ability to create a more positive workplace.
Coaching can explore limiting beliefs around their roles as manager, what they are expected to do, what they expect of employees, and how they fit into the organisation.
WHAT CAN MANAGERS DO?
Engage in meaningful dialogue
When you make the effort to connect with your team members in person, you are showing that you care, and this motivates people in all sorts of ways.
We’re all human, and most humans respond well to real face-to-face communication as opposed to emails.
Transparent and open communication
A transparent and open form of communication addresses the employee’s need to feel that what they have to say has value. It is what makes employees feel that they belong in the organisation.
Furthermore, open discussions will get people involved and allow them to share their views and perspectives on how to meet company goals. This is when employees will suggest ideas to improve the work processes, thus benefiting everyone in the organisation in return.
Thank someone for something that they did. However, be specific about what it was and why it was helpful or important. Copy in their manager.
The next step is to give meaningful appreciation. Detailed praise shows that you are paying attention and not making empty statements. When people feel like they are doing good work, they want to rise to the occasion even more.
Give positive reinforcement
Use phrases such as; I appreciate the way you…, I’m impressed with…, I really enjoy working with you because…, You’re really good at…
Listen to everyone’s ideas
Your entire team has great ideas. They all bring their own experience and perspectives.
As a result, make it a policy to listen to new ideas. This will tell everyone they are a valuable part of the team. Give the good ideas a try. You never know what might happen, other than the team becomes more invested in their work.
Trust your team members
Assume that your team consists of adult, responsible, competent people.
When you delegate, let go and let that employee own the task that you have given them. You can also communicate trust by asking team members to make decisions for their parts of a project.
Create a strong team spirit
Encouraging a strong team spirit is not easy because it involves the acceptance and tolerance of differences in perspectives and working styles.
Hold team-bonding activities that let the team focus on the positive sides of each team member. Celebrate events like birthdays for each member of your team. Deal with issues together.
Promote work-life balance
In general, having a sense of balance will improve job satisfaction among employees. They will feel that they are not ignoring other areas of their lives.
When employees fulfil their own needs and goals in life, they can then feel more confident about themselves and do their best at work.
WHAT CAN TEAM MEMBERS DO?
Smile and say “hello” to twice as many people as you normally would. Be genuine.
Post an upbeat poster, picture or quote at your desk where everyone can see it.
Start a meeting off by sharing something positive that is going on in your group, project or work
Find some occasion to celebrate with others, such as a project milestone, birthday, new house
Change the way you respond
When someone disagrees with you about something at work, think “how interesting” instead of immediately getting defensive.
Add some light fun by picking a day for a dress-up or desk-decorating theme.
Engage in random acts of kindness
Do something kind for someone else (especially someone who would not expect it).
If your organisation would benefit from a review of its current environment, then please contact me for a discussion about whether things can be turned around for you.