As more and more millennials enter the work force, a healthy work environment is higher and higher on the list of things employers are thinking about. As a leader, you want to ensure you’re creating the best possible space for your team to work well and effectively, and sometimes it’s hard to know why that isn’t happening. Below I’ve listed 5 things you can do to help ensure your culture is healthy.
People respond better to encouragement than criticism.
People highly underestimate the power of encouragement. Even if you aren’t a leader on your staff team, your encouragement can still make a significant impact. Creating an air of positivity on your team will create a much more encouraged, kind, and collaborative culture, which will in turn assure the culture of your workplace is healthy.
2. Cast vision
This principle started in the Bible, so you know it’s important. Without good vision, it’s impossible for your team to be unified, which is a perfect environment for frustration to abound on your team. Make sure you clearly communicate where your team is going, how you’re going to get there, and your core values so that everyone is headed in the same direction. A team without vision is a chaotic, frustrated, and often unproductive one, so be sure to avoid this by clearly communicating with your team.
3. Celebrate failure
“The man” is a concept employers are constantly working against, even in today’s more modern working culture. Bosses are often seen as those with the power to keep you or fire you, and who can make your working life miserable or enjoyable. This view, however, does nothing to promote a healthy, unified team environment, where the belief in and encouragement of employees goes much farther.
One of the easiest ways to combat this view is to celebrate failure. You’ve clearly outlined your organization’s vision and equipped your team to make it happen, but mistakes happen, and sometimes people fall short.
One of my favorite things about working with my team at Vanderbloemen is that failure is taken as a learning opportunity, not a disaster. When I make a mistake, I’m not worried I’m going to be fired. Failure and mistakes aren’t swept under the rug, but rather, they’re treated as chances to learn. Shifting this perspective will create trust in you and your leadership and will move your team towards unity. This trust and unity will do wonders for the health of your organization.
4. Listen to the advice of others
One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is refusing the advice of others, assuming they don’t understand the organization or know what's best. This is easy to do, as all organizations are unique, but don’t fall into this easy trap. Fresh eyes are full of creativity and can infuse fresh life into your organization if used well.
Hiring professionals doesn’t mean you aren’t capable, it means you want to do things in the best possible way. This is going to earn more respect from your team than watching you fumble through learning something others could expertly teach. Humble and teachable leadership garners respect, which will sustain your healthy team culture in the long run.
5. Don’t judge a book by its cover
Some positions within your organization will require certain expertise; this is an understandable truth in the world of working adults. However, I’d challenge you to think outside the box when hiring. Sometimes what your organization needs is already sitting unassumingly within your organization, just waiting to use their untapped potential.
Challenge the way you see people, positions, and credentials. Employees who know they’re seen for their actual work and potential will do better work with a better attitude than those stuck in dead end jobs, knowing they’ll never see a promotion. When you encourage everyone and reward good work, your team will work together as a unified (and productive) machine.
What are some things you’ve noticed make a difference in your workplace culture? What would you recommend to those who want to make small changes in their organization?