Certain skills are essential for doing a job well.
Marketing folks must know how to develop your brand and drive new leads. Sales people must know how to convert those leads into sales. Your fulfillment team needs to properly fulfill the order. Trainers need to know what they’re teaching your new customers.
These “hard skills” are fairly easy to define. They also happen to be easy to measure. People are hired and fired based on the success or failure to do them every day.
There are other skills, however, that aren’t as easy to define. They are just as valuable, but employers don’t know how to “value them.” Unfortunately, most of us have first-hand experience with co-workers who don’t have these skills:
The employee who constantly criticizes others’ work.
Bosses who berate direct reports and leave them questioning their every decision.
The employee who never steps up, claiming it’s not their responsibility.
The boss who takes credit for your ideas.
Whether overly aggressive or overly passive, manipulative or careless, these violations are often overlooked if the employee is technically still doing their job. Don’t let “one bad apple spoil the bunch.” These negative behaviors affect employee morale, divert everyone’s focus and cost your company money.
Now imagine a team of skilled employees who also bring positive attitudes to your team. They are:
Supportive, encouraging, inspiring, tenacious, driven, strengths-based, solutions-oriented, adaptable, consistent, conscientious, ethical, friendly, diplomatic.
It’s hard to measure the infinite value of these positive traits. How do you develop a workplace culture that supports positivity?
- Identify the source, be direct about your concerns and then listen without judgement. This can help you determine if there’s a reason for their behavior or if this is a personality trait.
- Let them know it is unacceptable and how it’s impacting the business. Provide coaching if their interpersonal skills are lacking or if you think this is a personality trait.
- Depending on the offense, document your conversation and let them know there will be ramifications if the behavior continues. This establishes clear expectations.
- Don’t create a new rule for every offense; you are working with adults and it will undermine your trust in them.
- Nothing feels more alienating than being left out. Develop a communications strategy that keeps everyone connected to your common mission. Consistently share company decisions, updates and reinforce how they support your mission. This gives employees a strong sense of belonging which can go a long way in discouraging negativity.
- Deter favoritism. It can erode a supportive and collaborative work environment. Reinforce the importance of treating everyone fairly. Show employees their contributions are valued with recognition and rewards. Support their continued growth with training and a clear career path.
- Negativity breeds distrust. Employees will try to succeed at the expense of others.
- Set the tone! Honestly reflect on your own outlook and how that translates into your verbal and written communications. A genuine “good morning!” and a smile can be contagious. Celebrate milestones. Focus on strengths. Show gratitude. A positive work culture creates competition that is motivating and encourages employees to do their best.
- We’re in this together. If your team is up against a stressful deadline, roll up your sleeves and help when you can. If not, give a pep talk and reinforce the value of their contributions.
- Indoctrinate positive language in your company values and promote them broadly.
- Be consistent with your values. Everyone has a bad day every now and then, but this shouldn’t be the norm. Your employees need to know what to expect on a daily basis and under challenging circumstances, so they’re not left guessing and stressing out.
**Positivity can be truly transformative**
It can help improve employee morale, productivity, creativity and one’s ability to cope with stress.
BONUS: It’s a powerful emotion that builds on itself. Your thoughts actually shape the structure of your brain, creating new neural pathways and strengthening the likelihood of positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It is a win-win-win for your company!
Companies boast being listed in “Top 100 Places to Work” for a reason. The benefits of a positive work culture are well-documented, but it’s not an easy task.
As a top certified professional employer organization (CPEO) in Chicago, MidwestHR has developed best practices that encourage employees to be their best selves. For over 20 years, clients have outsourced their HR functions to our team of trusted experts. Leaders can stay focused on growing the business knowing we’re handling any insurance inquiries, retirement questions, policy development, help with hiring and so much more. Give us a call at 630-836-3000 and learn how we can help fulfill your vision for a positive workplace.