Would you be surprised to learn that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over three billion dollars a year is lost due to workplace negativity? As managers and leaders it is important to cultivate a positive workplace environment. Gossip. Bad attitudes. Bullying. It’s easy to recognize these behaviors contribute to a negative environment and in turn lead to low retention, poor employee engagement, and decreased productivity. So what can you do to ensure you accentuate the positive?
Positive Language: Words are powerful and should be used wisely. Think about your communication skills. Do you acknowledge when employees are getting it right? When criticism is warranted, are you able to provide constructive correction that doesn’t tear the employee down? Are you using negative language or do you use positive phrasing? For example, the working title on this blog was “Minimizing Workplace Negativity”. As I started writing, I realized that title didn’t convey a positive message when presenting ideas on how to build a positive workplace environment. Words matter, so chose them wisely.
Consistency and Transparency: Be consistent in your interactions with employees. The appearance of favoritism can lead to disgruntled employees and that feeling can quickly spread. Be as transparent as you can in your dealings. If changes are coming to the company, share what you can so the rumor mill doesn’t start churning. Providing information promotes a sense of trust between management and employees and increases employee satisfaction and engagement.
Empower Employees: One of reasons employees give for low job satisfaction is the lack of feeling empowered in their role. Be sure that job descriptions are clearly defined. Also, trust that the person has the skills necessary to complete the task. Micromanaging leads to dissatisfaction. Provide your employees an avenue to present ideas to management on how to make their jobs better. Encourage self-development and provide a clear path for career advancement. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are engaged employees.
Lead by Example: Be sure you are setting the right tone for the company. Don’t engage in gossip yourself. Display ethical behavior as you interact with clients, customers, and fellow employees. When conflict arises, model behavior that you would like everyone to follow. Be a good co-worker. Get to know your employees and take an interest in them.
So, look at your workplace. Think of ways that you can turn it into a more positive place. Use your energy to promote positivity rather than wasting it dealing with negative attitudes. Strive to be a positive role model and reap the benefits of an engaged, productive workforce.