It might start out as something small. You hear a few whispers among employees not wanting to come into work. Or you start to suspect that some employees are calling in sick, even when they are healthy, to avoid being in the office. You look around and realize that negativity is spreading through your workplace at a rapid rate. Now is the time to make a few small changes that will stop that negativity in its tracks and get your company culture back on track toward a positive working environment. A recent article in Inc. reminds us of five areas to look at making some changes to turn the negative environment into a positive one.
1- Roles and Rules: Employees want to know what is expected of them. They want to understand how their success will be measured. Do you have clear role and rules for your employees? Do you hold them accountable? If not, this could be one cause of workplace negativity. To turn this around, sit down with each employee (have your management team help with this) and explain what their role at the company is and how it fits into the larger organizations goal. Then make sure to follow-up and continue to hold employees accountable for filling their roles.
2- Boundaries: As a leader you must have boundaries with your employees. Find a balance between befriending employees and not knowing them at all. Set appropriate expectations for how others should communicate with you.
3- Problems and Patterns: If you find yourself solving the same employee problems over and over, it may be time to explore the root cause of that problem. Work to create a system that will eliminate recurring problems.
4- Addiction to Overdoing: Have you created a culture where employees (including the leadership team) are skipping lunches and breaks and working feverishly because there is just so much to get done? Hard work and dedication are important, but so is taking out some time to enjoy the day. There will never be enough time in the day, so why not take a lunch break and get some fresh air. And encourage your employees to do the same. The work will still be there when you get back.
5- Communicating on Purpose: Leaving people in the dark really does you no good. Clarity increases persuasive power and transparency increases trust. These are two things you desperately need for a positive work environment. Make an effort to keep everyone in the loop.
We’ve seen firsthand how quickly negativity can spread through the workplaces of our clients over the years. Take a moment to look at these areas within your company next time you see negativity starting to creep into your workplace.