The “Sweet 16” of Positive Work Environments
If people start worrying when you show up, you’re a downer. If people love to see you leave, you’re a loser. If your team hates receiving calls from you, you’re a lousy leader. People in positive work environments love to see the boss coming. They love seeing you because they’ll go further with you than without you.
16 Ways to build positive work environments:
- Develop people.
- Know what they do best and leverage it.
- Clearly define expectations.
- Trust them to act.
- Support them when they fail.
- Always give credit and take blame. No one likes seeing a blamer.
- Believe in them – you’re on their team.
- See opportunities more than problems.
- Help find solutions.
- Keep out of the way.
- Encourage, enable, and inspire.
- Protect from bureaucracy.
- Value them as individuals.
- Don’t talk about yourself, too much. Let people know you, however.
- Don’t talk on and on ….
- Make people feel listened to by asking more than stating.
Bonus: Give others what you wish others would give you.
Just before posting I thought of another one; explain the why of work. I’m sticking with the title “Sweet 16” even though the list grew to 18. The “Sweet 18” just doesn’t seem to work.
How are you building a positive work environment?
Which of these ideas do you find most important?
Dan, great list. A lot of them, done together, add up to shifting the spotlight from the leader to the team.
I think I mentioned this before, but someone once said to me, “What do you want, to be right or to be effective?” Sometimes as leaders the best thing to do is keep the limelight off ourselves even when we know best, in order to have that positive growth environment.
I love the way you are thinking on this.
The best thing any leader can do with the spotlight is reflect it back on the team.
Sweet. Right or effective… excellent.
Another great post Dan. I would add build a culture of discipline. People want to be trusted and to have control over how they complete tasks but it’s equally important to know that we are all held accountable for meeting defined expectations. Self discipline is important but is much more effective when it forms part of a culture.
thanks for the good word. Great point.
I’ll add that the inconsistent application of discipline is a major downer to building a positive work culture.
I like the list, particularly #7, #12, #13.
I am surprised, though, by the opening of the post. It’s seems uncharacteristic of your message to label an ineffective leader as a downer or loser.
For me the positive work environment message is lost with the judgmental nature of the opening.
I like to start posts with problems to solve or in a provocative manner. I’m comfortable pushing the boarders of proper decorum. Perhaps I went too far. As you know, I’m all about leadership development.
Good seeing you and thanks for you input.
Hi Shawn and Dan,
I understand Shawn’s comment about the hard-hitting nature of your opening, and I also feel uncomfortable with labeling people.
But I must also say, that it caught my attention and made me read more closely, maybe because it had a different tone than I’ve come to expect from you. And the juxtaposition made your main point even stronger: “They love seeing you because they’ll go further with you than without you.”
Bottom-line: You’ve made me realize it’s good to mix it up every once in awhile.
Doh! See my comment below. Overlooked the reply link.
LOVE this. I used to tell my Sales Team that it was J-O-B to make their customers feel better about life by the time their appointment was over. I felt the same way about my job as VP/Sales (unless they were seriously slacking of course).
I was the coach, and they were my team. I was there to motivate, inspire, set goals, and help them accomplish all of our dreams.
Then, we were bought out and I literally had Eeyore as a boss.
Now I have a driven, positive, optimistic boss: me.
Also great advice for all team members IMHO!
And to @shawmu’s comment, I agree. I think you could have said the same thing without the negativity.
A provocative opening is certainly a way to pull in the reader. It’s also a good way to have a dialogue…like this one.
Boundary pushing is good. Where the line for me is likely to be different for you. What’s important is that we can respectfully talk through them. Like this.
I agree Shawn. Exploring the boundary together more than just fun, it’s a great opportunity for insight. Your response to Dan provoked my own thinking and inspired me to try a different kind of post this week. So thanks to you and Dan for that.
You just explained one reason why I love blogging. It’s a community of people “talking” and challenging, learning how to be better people. And for those of us who blog find new, different ways to get a conversation going.
Dan is a fantastic blogger with keen insights. I look forward to reading your post.
I agree with Jesse. Thought it was a bit too much of a generalization, but it certainly drove home a point and made you stop and think. We need more thinking in our world and less jumping to conclusions.
Sweet is always sweet whether it as sixteen , eighteen ,nineteen and so on , as a seeker we should always strive to seek more and more values in ourselves and in system , the true leader always build the positive environment where the true values comes out of his collegus , peers and followers , I in my personal experiance in corpoarte world have seen that leaders by position try to exert themselves and for them the numbers are the only achievemnet not the people who can bring more but do not carry importance and the leader in long term losses the sheen of leadership,,, as you rightly said that when people start worry when you call them that shows that people are not comfortable with the particluar style of functioning , this is indicator , a leader must understand this and than should focus on his leadership style ,We should build the discipline, a line of reporting system , people must be aware of their responsibilites as well their rights , we throw the responsibilites but when it comes for the rights a leader should be open with it , it is very easy to build the positive culture and environment when the leader is transperent to himself and to his team .
When I went through Dan’s list, I was struck by this thought: Imagine how many poor souls go through their entire working lives in negative work environments. Anyone care to take a stab at the percentage? Okay, I’ll start. My guess is over 50%.
I really liked those 16 (18) peals of wisdom – some people noted there was not enough, or too vague. Sometimes, less is more.
I think that many can relate, as just these few ‘pearls’ have sparked their own thoughts on the subject.
A Leader is also a ‘teacher’, and for someone to teach, they should know the subject matter, yes?
I agree with John Bell’s statement that many go through their career’s in a negative work environment. This being said, I highly doubt much productivity, or quality of work is substantial. It is not enough just to ‘tow the company line’, as that does nothing for ‘Esprit de corps’ to motivate and encourage the work at hand-whatever that may be.
Given the hard times the majority of us are feeling and living through these days, we would all be better off if we lived and worked using some basic core values. We’re all in this together. We may as well make it as painless as possible. Some of us may even be surprised and return to enjoying what we do.
A win-win for everyone 🙂
Thank you for the article.
In stead of your last two questions, I respectfully submit a third…What quality do you think might be missing in this list? …
17. Be passionate and proactive!