POSITIVE business and organisational culture are words that seem to appear in many articles and books but seldom seem to align with expectations.
During my exposure within organisations ranging from small operators to multi-national corporate, Aboriginal and not-for-profit, the conversations tend to focus more on the negative and what needs to be fixed rather than positives and what has been achieved.
It appears to me that the power of positivity is being overlooked and it really should not be ignored has been.
Practicing positivity by focusing on positive features and events of work actually increases the positive affect and job-related behaviours.
It doesn’t take much to express appreciation for a job well done, to celebrate the completion of a difficult piece of work or to recognise the extra effort that a person has committed.
It doesn’t even need to be that complicated. Greeting colleagues in the morning with a positive expression rather than the usual expression of ingratitude or how busy you are, goes a long way to making their day. We are all busy; but making the little extra effort goes a long way.
You can actually create a positive development cycle within your business which can have beneficial effects not only on the culture but also on productivity. Recent research goes as far as suggesting a positive work environment decreases lost employee days through illness; either genuine or apathy based not wanting to go to work illness. To create the positive development cycle is to firstly create positive emotions.
It can be both for within work environment or for others external to it. Last week I was driving through Brisbane’s M7 tunnel and a very clear voice came over the radio, with a message that there had been an accident on Lutwyche Road and to be aware of potential congestion. They were on the scene and there would be minimal disruption, however to drive to reduced speed limits.
Depending on what was happening for each of the drivers, the effect of this announcement could have ranged from a slight inconvenience to major disappointment, frustration or even anger.
As I happen to know a person who works within the company that services the tunnel I telephoned him to tell him that the announcement was working well: it was clear, succinct and to the point. He thanked me and said it had made his day as they do test the system regularly but never know the result until it is needed to be actually used.
Imagine one spontaneous telephone call making a person’s day.
The presence of positive emotions can be as easy as welcoming people as you come to work, being genuinely interested in their out of work achievements of which they are proud and genuinely recognising and acknowledging when staff have gone above and beyond to achieve a goal.
Creating a positive emotion is a little like yawning. If you do not hide it, it will catch on. Positive emotions are connected with to positive experiences which when reinforced will cultivate a positive development cycle.
Discussing positive experiences reinforced through repetition over time are foundations for positive development.
Developing a positive work culture makes for a healthier work environment which leads to both a more stable and higher productive work force.
Dr Brenda Jamnik is a specialist in business leadership with more than 20 years’ experience in executive coaching and building high performance teams.