Creating a positive work environment for your team is vital to your success in business or even in the public sector for that matter.
Everyone wants to work in a positive environment, and although that has very different meanings to different people, a positive work environment should always keep one thing as its central idea… the people!
In a positive work environment, team members are able to thrive and grow, and there is an uplifting atmosphere that encourages people to push harder because they know their contributions are valued and appreciated.
A positive work environment always leads to greater productivity and higher employee satisfaction—things that can often result in a better overall product or service.
Sadly, I have watched people in leadership positions absolutely destroy the work environment though abuse of power as well as focusing on a process rather than people.
As the leader, it falls on you to do everything you can to foster that positivity and inspiration at work to create the environment where your team members flourish. Here is how you can do that:
Appreciate and Show Gratitude in the Work Environment
Always let your team know how much you appreciate their hard work and efforts. This can be hard to do and especially if you have come from a military or para-military work environment where the expectation is to do your best without the need for accolades… the world does not work this way my friends!
Sure, they’re getting paid to be there and put in the work, but it’s still feels amazing to know that someone appreciates what you’re doing, even if it is your job.
It makes you feel like you’re not just one more faceless, nameless drudge somewhere on the corporate ladder, but someone actually appreciates you for you.
A few words of gratitude and appreciation can make a world of difference to your team members and the positivity of the work environment. Make it a point to go out of your way to show everyone on your team how much you value them no less than once per day.
If you are in a work environment that is non-traditional – ie online, then make sure you are are reaching out and checking in.
Reinforce with Positivity
To create a positive work environment, speak positively! Use words that show the employees how positively you are looking at them. Say things like “I appreciate how you…” or “You’re good at…” This helps them to feel valued.
It builds up an atmosphere of positivity that will become contagious. Small compliments and positive reinforcement can make a world of difference in a busy, high-stress work place!
We all love to celebrate our birthdays, Christmas, and the other holidays. Most of us expect company parties or celebrations of some sort, even just a cake in the breakroom or a little something extra special.
But why not go a step beyond the bare minimum? Don’t just settle for celebrating the big holidays or special days. Instead, make it a point to celebrate the little wins as well.
Your team is working hard, putting in a lot of time and mental effort to push forward whatever projects you’re tasked with. Show them their efforts are appreciated by celebrating the milestones and achievements of that project.
Divide the project into smaller, bite-sized goals, easily manageable chunks that you can complete in shorter periods of time. When you reach that first goal, take a moment to stop and celebrate. Even something simple like an extra celebratory cupcake at work or permission to head home a few hours early can make a world of difference!
Do Random Acts of Kindness
These are among my most pleasurable activities in the world!
People love surprises, especially when they’re positive, kind surprises. As the team leader, you’re in the perfect position to find out what your people need or want most, and find a way to give it to them—even without them knowing who it’s from<= that makes it even better.
Make it a point to do one random act of kindness a day. Big or small, simple or complex, do something for someone else. Think about doing it in secret, especially if it’s something big or more complex. That way, they’ll start looking at the people around them through a lens of positivity, looking for the BEST in whoever is secretly being kind to them.
But even the simple gestures can go a long way toward making your team members feel appreciated. Help someone with a task, open a door, or give up something to someone else. Small acts of kindness go a long way in the world today!
Change Up the Venue
There will always be times when you need to meet in a conference room or office, when you need all the tools of your work close at hand. Other times, however, you can change things up and step outside the office for a meeting or team strategy session. Any chance you get, go out!
For example, we do two business retreats a year. While I prefer to be somewhere warm and tropical, others on my team do not SO this year we are checking into Sonora Resort for our semi-annual retreat, which is nestled in the Wild West coast of British Columbia.
You can keep it a bit more simple if you work in a traditional work environment. Meet up at a nearby coffee shop, or go for a drink and strategy meeting. Or, if you don’t want to be so informal, just have your meeting while walking around outside. Anywhere that isn’t the office is where you want to be.
Changing up the venue can do wonders to change the mood of the meeting. Instead of the “same old” humdrum routine, you have a chance to feel something new in a new setting. It’ll add a little bit of spice to the regular workday.
Encourage Positive Communication
You’re always going to have interpersonal conflicts when working with a team. There’s no two ways about it: people end up clashing as they spend a lot of time working in close proximity with others.
The key isn’t to stop conflicts; it’s to make them positive so they help to improve the group dynamic rather than shatter it. To do that, you need to encourage positive communication.
Positive communication is about sharing feelings and speaking words that help to lead through a conflict and beyond to a better understanding of each other. You’re not avoiding the issue—on the contrary, you’re bringing it out into the open—but doing so with the mindset of working past the problem, not just verbally punching the other person.
You’ll find that it can take a bit more time, but it’s worth investing that time to sort out the difficulties between your team members because it will help all of you move past the issues. Instead of letting things fester and take root, you give your people a safe place to express themselves and communicate with each other. And it’s all done in the spirit of improving group dynamics and harmony.
Encouraging this positive, open dialogue between the members of your team will help them feel like they are working in a place where their thoughts and feelings are truly understood and valued. This is why building a positive work environment is something you should continually focus on.