For the first time since Media Magnetism debuted in 2012, I’m taking April off and putting this month’s column in the capable hands of Rosalind Cardinal, aka The Leadership Alchemist. What makes Ros’ guest blog such a timely fit is that the world at large is currently awash in negative energy that not only foments distrust but also incites violence, jeopardizes global economies and causes many to view the future through a perspective of doom and gloom. While it’s a reality that nothing changes overnight, it’s the small, incremental steps we can each take on a day-to-day basis (including in the workplace) that can lead to a better – and more productive – tomorrow.
Positivity in the workplace makes a real difference.
It not only determines a person’s well-being but their success as well. In fact, it does more than that. Positivity can also:
- enhance team members’ ability to think creatively
- help them cope with challenges
- nurture their progress in their career
- and aid them in getting along with others in the workplace
So how do we build a positive culture?
Martin Seligman, positive psychologist and author of the 2011 book Flourish, developed the PERMA model, which details the five elements that must be in place for us to experience lasting well-being.
P: Positive Emotion
R: (Positive) Relationships
Let’s break each of these elements down further and see how they apply in the workplace:
Positive Emotion: As a leader, it’s essential you set a positive tone for your team and their working environment inasmuch as possible. One way to do that is to reframe the negatives that can and will arise at times. For instance: “We failed.” Vs. “The project wasn’t successful this time around, but we received valuable feedback that will make the next one more viable.”
Engagement: Rewards and incentives can be great motivators to keep a team focused on crossing the finish line when used correctly, but team members can also develop self-rewards of their own, even if it simply means getting a cup of coffee once they finish a section of a project. The key is to create a reward the team member will enjoy working toward.
Relationships: Human beings are social beings, which means that we crave healthy, empowering relationships. Many studies show that people with a larger support network often outlive those without it by 22%! Devote at least 20-30 minutes a day toward relationship building. Visit a team member’s office during lunch, ask about their family, encourage them in their personal goals, and learn more about what they’d like to achieve in their career.
Meaning: People want to feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their day-to-day work life. We want to feel that what we does matter; that what we are contributing plays a central part in the ‘bigger picture’. Leaders therefore must empower their team members to see the deeper layers in their work. Revisit your company’s mission purpose and vision statements in a special meeting. How does each team member’s work relate to those statements? In what ways does each team member fulfill your company’s unique vision? Getting to the heart of it may very well be what your team needs to feel inspirited and encouraged.
Accomplishment/Achievement: We are naturally programmed to want to better ourselves. In doing so, we flourish and experience well-being. So how can leaders empower their team members and equip them with what they need in order to experience accomplishment and achievement on a regular basis? One way is to help facilitate their development. Connect employees with a training program that can up-level them. Introduce them to the appropriate connections within your workplace for the advancement of their career. Devote time regularly to reflecting on how you can help develop your team members and they’ll thank you for it.
When a leader focuses on building positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment in the workplace, a positive culture will flourish, making for happier employees, a stronger team, and better work.
Rosalind Cardinal, known as ‘The Leadership Alchemist’, is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, a consulting practice in the field of Organisational Development and Human Resources. She has coached clients at Executive and Senior Levels in government agencies, private enterprises, and the community sector and is a sought-after speaker and expert at conferences and events. Visit her website at www.shapingchange.com.au to learn new strategies and game-changing ideas toward becoming a better leader and to download Ros’ free e-book on leadership.