How to Create a Positive Work Environment

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How to create a positive work environment

Positive versus Negative WorkplacesWe have all worked in places where we grew to dread getting up in the morning, and a few of us have had the pleasure of working for a boss who makes us feel like we can do anything. Lets take a look at the differences between a positive and a negative work environment.

Signs of a Negative Work Environment The boss is unfriendly.

The boss is critical.

There is high employee turnover.

There is low employee morale.

People watch the clock.

People dont get much performance feedback.

Signs of a Positive Work Environment The boss demonstrates interest in the employees.

The boss has an encouraging attitude.

Employees like working there.

There is evidence of company pride and loyalty.

People know where they stand with their supervisors.

Thousands of books have been written on the subject of managing and motivating people, and as many training seminars are conducted on this subject around the world every day. And yet its interesting that even with all of this available information, few companies succeed at creating a positive work environment. Lets see whats involved.

Four Key SkillsCreating a positive work environment is based on four key skills. They are:

1. Telling people what you expect of them.

2. Showing interest in your team members.

3. Creating an encouraging environment.

4. Recognizing and rewarding good performance.

Skill #1: State Your ExpectationsTelling people what you expect of them means doing the following:

Communicating expectations clearly

Having a specific job description

Identifying specific performance standards

Specifying deadlines

Setting goals

Skill #2: Show Interest in Your TeamWhat behaviors convey that someone is interested in you?

Making eye contact

Calling you by name

Asking your opinion


Complimenting your work

Taking your suggestions

These behaviors convey a lack of interest:

Ignoring you

Not knowing your name or not using it

Not asking your opinion

Ignoring your suggestions

Not commenting on your work

Following your suggestion, but only when heard from someone else

Such signsdiscourageproductivity because they make people feel discouraged, angry, less confident, and stripped of self-esteem.

Skill #3: Create an Encouraging EnvironmentMost people would agree that an encouraging work environment is one where:

Their ideas are valued.

Creativity is encouraged.

Risks are encouraged.

Fun and laughter are valued.

New ideas are rewarded.

They feel appreciated.

People thank you for your contributions.

Flexibility is valued.

They feel like part of the team.

Creating such an environment results in the following benefits to employees. They:

Contribute more ideas.

Feel more committed.

Look forward to coming to work.

Are more productive.

Have increased self-esteem.

Creating such an environment results in the following benefits to managers and business owners:

Less turnover

Less sabotage

Greater loyalty

Easier to find employees due to good reputation

Higher productivity

Skill #4: Recognize and Reward Good PerformanceA reinforcer is anything that happens, after a behavior, that tends to increase the chances that the behavior will be repeated. Included are such things as:



Thumbs-up gesture

Saying "Thank you"

Public announcement of your achievement

Positive letter in your personnel file


Time off

Special parking space

First choice on schedule

Tickets to an event

Extra employee discount

Picture on the bulletin board

Applause at a meeting

Recognition Guidelines1. Describe the results you are recognizing.Be specific. Its important to make certain the employee knows what behavior or accomplishment you are referring to.

2. State your personal appreciation. Say, "I appreciate it." Adding your personal appreciation makes the compliment feel more genuine.

3. Encourage the person to continue producing such good work. This increases the chances that the person will repeat the desirable behavior.

The Ideal Work Environment

Melvin Richardson,Yahoo Contributor NetworkOct 22, 2008

MORE: Getting PromotedFlag

HYPERLINK "" \l "new_comment_area" \o "Post a comment" Post a commentI've often thought about what it would be like to work at the ideal workplace and quite frankly I'm not sure such a place exists. All too often we work at places that just don't live up to our expectations and you eventually succumb to the politics and/or mediocrity. What are some of the key components that would make up the ideal workplace? Well let's take a look at some of the categories, in my opinion at least.

CommunicationI believe a workplace should have effective communication across the board. There has to be a free flow of information that encompasses every department and everyone within from the mailroom clerk to the CEO. If you work there then you should know what's going on. This would eliminate, the, "didn't you get the memo," syndrome. There's nothing worse than a situation where everyone within an organization does not receive important information. Don't you think that is unacceptable? In order for an organization to operate like a well oiled chain everyone needs to be on the same page and that entails everyone getting the same information. People feel valued when they are included. Now I know there are situations where information cannot be given out but as much as people need to be included.

TrustI've seen situations where individuals worked in the same area in the same department and they don't trust each other. It's no wonder productivity suffers so much; everyone is looking out for themselves because they don't really believe their coworkers are looking out for their best interest. Somehow the feeling is that an associate is somewhere trying to bring them down with a negative comment. The ideal place needs a environment that fosters trust and loyalty to the company and to each other. What if everyone consistently encouraged and motivated each other as well as share their best demonstrated practices with the team. Do away with so many closed door meetings. I once had a boss that was in a closed door session on the phone every half hour it seemed. Needless to say to one working for her trusted her. Whatever was said she did not bother to share it.

Grow and DevelopThe ideal place to work should be a place that gives everyone an opportunity to grow and develop with training and education. There should be a motivational library on site with nothing but books, CD's, tapes, DVD's, magazines and other resource material designed to take employees to the next level. Seminars should be a major part of the ideal work place whether they be onsite or off. The ideal work place should have an abundance of opportunities for promotion with new opportunities always coming about because of rapid expansion and growth. A people development program should be put into place that encompasses a part of all of the aforementioned information.

Employee Well-BeingYou need profits for an organization to grow, flourish, and develop, but when you put profits above the needs and concerns of your people then you are shooting yourself in the foot. Imagine telling your people to give excellent customer service when the employees are being less than human. People need to be treated with respect and dignity and they need to know that they matter and that someone is actually concerned about their well-being.

There are organizations that just grind the life out of people all for the sake of results. An organization like that doesn't even have a sense of who their employees are. They don't really take the time to get to know their employees or anything about their personal habits, interests, or who their spouses are, or if they have kids.

It's always back to the grind stone we have to get those numbers. The ideal work place should have a meeting lasting 5 or 10 minutes prior to the start of the day where everyone gets an update and included in the meeting should be some time discussing personal things. What did you do this weekend?

HonestyOrganizations should be honest and up front. If an employee has an employee that is looking to get promoted but they have no intention of promoting him/her then they should tell that person. Even prior to that should let that person know what his short comings are, and then there should be a plan of action put into place that allows that employee to bridge that gap. It should be a realistic legitimate program that's well thought out with the input of the employee and not something thrown together so they can say they covered all bases; actually they are trying to cover something else.

TeamworkWouldn't it be nice if we could eliminate the phrase that's not by job. Certainly there will be situations when this does not apply but if it's something within the realm of your capabilities and you are not taxed unreasonably in terms of effort and time needed to get the job done, then by all means do it.

People should view the entire organization as a team and not just your own department or your immediate co-workers. Everyone should actively look out for the organization by recognizing th


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