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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

Being Positive Makes a Difference

Does your company promote a positive work culture?

Do you consider yourself a person who acts with kindness and compassion?

We spend more time working than we do anything else. It is becoming more important now to pay attention to how we treat each other whether at work, home or at the local shops.

There is an increasing body of research that shows how we interact with our colleagues can have consequences on our well-being. Leaders may set the tone; however, it's employees who have the greatest impact on how work culture is shaped. So, how do you influence your work culture?

  • Do you have a positive outlook and encourage and support colleagues?

  • Are you more of a pragmatist looking for practical solutions?

  • Are you sometimes negative at work and tend to distrust change or new ideas?

  • Are you respectful and courteous to your colleagues?

Leaders can have a real impact on how effective organisations are and if a leader is generous, supportive and encouraging this can be a strong predictor in how effective a company will be. Over the past few years, increased research shows positive environments produce positive benefits specifically to employee engagement, relationships, health and the bottom line.

Conversely, one of the biggest downfalls to a negative or fear-based environment is higher health care costs due to workplace stress and lower engagement. According to the Gallup Organisation, disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects. In organisations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability and 37% lower job growth over time.

This in turn typically results in higher turnover. Furthermore, the repercussions of disengaged employees have long term effects on the employees and business. As a leader, creating a positive and healthy culture for your team is vital to the success of the organisation.

There are a few ways that you can improve your workplace environment;

  • Promote positive communication - treat each other with kindness, respect, and appreciation

  • Increase awareness – notice how your attitude and actions are showing up at work

  • Be supportive – offer to help, notice when someone is having a bad day or not feeling well and be compassionate

  • Provide a sense of purpose – employees want to know their job is meaningful and that they are valued

  • Foster team spirit by focusing on strengths – learn and leverage the strengths of your team members

As a leader you can encourage a more positive approach amongst team members by:

  • Model positive and respectful behaviour in your interactions - Be accountable, don’t play the blame game, encourage an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes and move forward

  • Show your gratitude and appreciation -send a thank you note or say it during a meeting

  • Celebrate wins – look for ways to celebrate whether it’s an employee birthday or recognising a milestone or achieving a goal. Honouring wins and milestones improve morale by encouraging the person recognised and showing team members that important events are noticed and praised.

  • Listen - be open and encouraging to hearing other’s opinions, ideas and solutions without judgement. This encourages employees to speak up and feel heard and a valued member of the team.

  • Communicate often – keep employees in the loop with frequent updates. This helps keep people connected and feeling part of the larger team. Provide regular feedback including constructive feedback and not just at performance review time. Employees want to know how they are doing along the way.

  • Create clear goals. Employees like to know that the job they are doing is making a difference. By creating goals and how each person is responsible for achieving them, it motivates and inspires an air of striving for betterment in the workplace.

  • Foster collaboration and diversity. Teams are at their best when they can make the best use of the strengths and welcome different perspectives, ideas and opinions of their team members to extract the best solution or result.

In summary, the benefits of a positive workplace culture grow exponentially over time and produce continued results.

Positive emotions or energy is contagious as is the negative. So, when leadership is focused on building a kinder, encouraging and engaged environment, it increases positive emotions and better health. People’s relationships improve fostering more collaboration and team spirit. In turn, this safeguards against stressful situations and negative experiences.

It also helps to improve employee resiliency to deal with challenges while boosting their well-being. When organisations develop positive, kind cultures they achieve significantly higher levels of organisational effectiveness — including productivity, customer satisfaction, employee engagement and to the bottom-line.

How can you spread a little kindness today?

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