Hi, I'm Mak. I'm a leadership coach for new managers who knows what it's like to be filled with overwhelm, self-doubt and terror that I’d let everyone down. My Story
The great resignation is making all kinds of headlines these days. Some people are leaving their jobs due to childcare, burnout, or they want to pursue their passions. There is another reason people are leaving jobs at record rates right now: toxic work environments and poor management. Unfortunately, people leaving their jobs right now is a reality, and if you are in a leadership role, you may be wanting to create a work environment people actually want to be a part of.
This article will give you 5 tips to help create a positive work environment where people feel supported and heard. Where you are working together to solve critical problems as a team, increase employee engagement and deliver amazing results.
Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below.
Now as we start this discussion I want to say that when I say a positive work environment, I don’t mean rainbow and butterflies all the time. It is ok and important to have healthy debates and conflict, and it is unrealistic to expect your team and yourself to always be smiling. Sometimes there is some hard work to be done, but it is important for people to feel valued and heard even through the tough times.
There is a term coined by the military that helps to describe the reality of business
V- volatile, meaning situations can change rapidly and unpredictably.
U- uncertain, meaning future events cannot be predicted
C- complex meaning things are multifaceted which can lead to difficulty in understanding
A-ambiguous meaning things can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the person’s perspective.
Let’s look at 5 ways you can work to achieve a more positive work culture for your team, as well as yourself.
Creating an environment where every team member knows what their role is, why their role matters, what their specific metrics are (KPI) and what the KBI’s are (key behavioural indicators.) Ensuring that every team member is clear on these points is crucial for a productive team. Keeping this as an ongoing conversation and on the forefront so everyone is clear on the department’s impact will keep team members on task and less room for miscommunication.
Gossip will ruin any workplace, and it is important to make sure that it is rooted out before it becomes a problem. Educating your team on what gossip looks like and how to respond when they hear it is key to cutting it out. Some people don’t know what gossip sounds like, or they don’t know how to squash it. Educating people on what to do if they hear it and how to shut it down is important, and holding people accountable when gossiping. You can educate your team all day on how to recognize and shut down gossip, but if the offender isn’t held accountable, it is pointless to say gossip isn’t tolerated. Don’t forget to keep yourself accountable as well.
Make sure that you communicate clearly and follow up with people to ensure that they understand what you are saying. It’s so easy for miscommunication to turn into a toxic force in the work environment and create rifts that could have been avoided. So, always follow up with people to make sure they understand and have communicated clearly with them. Please make sure everyone knows it’s ok to ask questions to gain clarity, and always explain the why behind what you are communicating.
If communication is something you struggle with, working on your delivery and follow-up will save a lot of problems in the future and even stop people from getting their feelings hurt.
Something that works for me is to use a checklist to ensure I have gotten all of my points across and followed up to ensure they were received and understood. Learning to communicate effectively will save you some unneeded chaos in the workplace. Learning to communicate clearly to other people is a skill that can be strengthened with practice and planning.
Being mindful of how you view and how you talk about setbacks in the workplace is very important to building a positive team culture. “21 irrefutable laws of leadership” by John Maxwell is a great read to dive into this point. One of the points discussed in this book is that there is so much to be learned from failures and mistakes. Learning from success stories is great, but real learning happens when you fail. As frustrating as it is to fail and make mistakes, there is a lot to learn in those moments.
Being mindful of how you talk about a setback can really make a difference in how people feel. Failing or making a mistake can deliver a blow to someone’s self-esteem, and focusing on the setback may make someone feel useless, and that is something you don’t ever want your team to feel. I’m sure most people would never want to make someone feel like that, but it can happen in a very subtle way. If you are constantly talking about the setback negatively, talking about what the team did wrong, or pointing out their mistakes, you can very quickly and effortlessly create a toxic environment.
Try reframing the mistake to highlight the lesson learned and how it will help not make the same mistake in the future. Reframing how you speak about the setback will make such a difference in how your team members feel and perform.
A good metaphor for building trust is like oil to the engine. If your engine is running low on oil or has none at all, the engine will not work to its best potential. It’s much like trust with your team. If you haven’t put the work in to build trust actively, your team won’t work efficiently. You must have trust between you and your team, but also amongst your team members with each other.
Building trust starts with you extending trust to your team members. When you delegate tasks and make it clear that you trust them with these tasks, it is empowering, and you want to let go a bit. I don’t mean just step back and forget about it. Check-in with them, but don’t hover over and micromanage. That is a great way to destroy any trust they may have developed or completely destroy any trust you were hoping to build.
Creating trust is a process that will take time, but this is a great starting point with your team. Over time the trust will build, and you will have a positive work culture. Taking that first step will lay the grounds for a trusting relationship.
Creating a positive work culture is a lot of work, and it will take time and consistency. If you are interested in going into more depth in developing your leadership skills using a comprehensive and practical approach, you can book a call with me to go more in-depth on this topic.
March 22, 2022