The term positive attitude gets used a lot these days. It’s a great business concept, because a positive workplace attitude means a strong team – and that’s vital to your organization’s success. The problem is, the term has become so very widely used that it’s almost white noise! You hear about positive attitude, but you don’t take it in.
We think it’s worth stepping back to look at what creating a positive attitude really means. In an effective team, each member feels positive about the importance of both their own role and that of the organization. It takes effort to build such an attitude. But trust us, it’s well worth the extra work.
Here are some ideas for how to create a positive attitude among your team – as opposed to just mentioning the term, having them nod in agreement and then promptly forget about it and go back to their regular work.
Be clear about your expectations. Imagine running a race with only a vague idea of where the finish line is. You probably wouldn’t run very fast. You’d be confused and easily distracted. Similarly, in an organization, each participant will feel more positive and strive harder if they know exactly what’s expected of them. And, in setting out your expectations for them, you show that you are aware of the important role they play in your business.
Ensure each member understands how the team works together. Most of us aren’t hermits. We don’t like feeling disconnected from the rest of the world. Generally, feeling connected is a positive emotion!
We suggest making a chart of how each person in your organization supports everyone else. Display it for everyone to see. For example, the frontline employee who greets customers in person, on the phone or by email links them to the team member best-suited to serve them. Meanwhile, people in technical support reinforce the work of the sales department. Through quality repairs or upgrades, techies demonstrate the positive value of staying with your company. When the time comes to actually replace the product, the customer will remember the good service. They will be in touch with your salespeople.
It’s definitely a positive feeling for a person to see how their efforts and initiatives reinforce the team. We’re betting you get exclamations of, “Hey, I didn’t realize my work connects so closely with So-And-So. Cool!”
Let people know you support them. By this we don’t just mean that you tell them what a great job they’re doing. Not that your positive words aren’t good: people try harder when they know they’re recognized. However, you can also let your team know that there are other types of support for them. What if they want to learn or improve an existing skill? If there’s room in the budget for courses and extra training, urge your people to take advantage of these.
Another way of supporting people is to check in with them, both individually and in groups, on how a project or initiative is going. They may have questions or concerns. They may have ideas on how to make things go better! By tapping into their insights, you’re strengthening their confidence and sense of self-value – and, big-picture, making them feel positive about the team as a whole.
Set time aside for out-of-office, team-building activities. These days more and more companies are taking their teams off-site to motivate and inspire them. You might meet outdoors in the summer for silly relay races or water-balloon tosses. Or maybe you take everyone to one of those rooms they have to escape from – the fun is in collaborating on the escape. What will work and what won’t?
We’re quite serious about the positive value of silly and fun. By engaging your people in non-work activities, you’re empowering them further to trust and be open with each other. Afterward, back at work, they may feel comfortable enough to share ideas that they might otherwise have kept bottled up out of inhibition.
There’s a lot more to explore in the discussion about positive workplace attitudes, and we’ll return to this topic in future issues. For now, here’s some supplemental reading you may find interesting and useful:
- The Balance on minimizing workplace negativity
- Sodexo on why it’s important to build a positive team spirit
- Seriously, create a positive attitude with these silly, fun ideas from Forbes