10 tasks for the boss

Your team is your responsibility. Here is what you must do to bring out the best in them

boss with colleaguesEncouraging healthy habits in the workplace is not only good for your team’s interaction, from the board room to the assembly line, it is also good for your bottom line. Once your team members are getting along with each other and enjoying their jobs, the blocks to risk taking, overcoming barriers and letting go of egos diminish.

Here are 10 ways to encourage positive workplace habits in your company:

  1. Resonate with your team and company. Once you are in tune with your job and your co-workers, it doesn’t seem like work. Creating new ideas, working together in a positive manner, feeling good about each other and what you are doing sounds more like satisfaction than work.
  2. Encourage communication among team members. Without good communication, you might as well hang the ‘closed’ sign on the front door because eventually that’s where you’ll end up. If your staff and leaders can’t talk about what they feel and need, not much will get accomplished.
  3. Give them someone to talk to. Have an open door policy [either let them talk to you or appoint someone in the Human Resource Department] for team members to talk about issues that are bothering them. Even 15 minutes of being heard can transform a person from a grumbling, non-productive, time waster to a star performer of your team.
  4. Enforce the basic rules of effective communication. I suggest offering a refresher course in open communication every six months or so. We have to be reminded and encouraged to talk about our work related problems in ways that will help solve them, not create new ones.
  5. Encourage them to relax, be themselves. This goes much deeper than casual Fridays; it’s about being emotionally relaxed. Let your people create their own work style [as long as it’s not inappropriate]. Implementers will gather with innovators, tie-wearers will hang with the T-shirt crowd, and you will get a diverse mix of talent—people who will be more likely to speak up and share their ideas. It will make your people more involved, inspired and productive. Give it a try at your next brainstorming session.
  6. Make sure your team brings along their hearts and minds to office. Having bodies show up everyday doesn’t work if their passion isn’t included. If your team mates aren’t emotionally invested in their job, or the people they work with, they won’t do as good a job as they are required to. For most individuals, work is much more than money. They have to have an emotional attachment and get a little joy from the experience. Help them feel wanted and needed.
  7. Treat failures as part of the success process. Hey, even basketball maestro Michael Jordan threw a few air-balls and legendary baseball player Babe Ruth also held the strike-out record. If you blow it, be honest and let your team know that you aren’t perfect. It will make you more human and your staff will be more understanding. In addition, this behaviour will help you eliminate the ‘us vs. them’ syndrome.
  8. Create an idea-friendly environment. Many of your team members have had great ideas. Somewhere along the line, if a person gets ignored or their ideas are squashed down, they won’t be as likely to share them. When this happens, have a one-to-one conversation with the individual who may be holding back and let her know that you have appreciated her input in the past and would welcome it in the present and future too.
  9. Keep the emotional energy upbeat. When your team becomes comfortable with a negative atmosphere, it is a death knell. You must immediately inject some positive energy if you want to keep your business and team alive. Using humour, being easy going, and sharing how different it feels when everybody gets along and works together, will help you keep the doors open and the pay checks coming.
  10. Set an example, share your feelings. To help your team, start by sharing your emotional involvement with them and your company. Take the risk of honestly talking about your feelings and they will learn from your example. Just remember to set good boundaries as well and don’t start talking about your break-ups or unhappy childhood.

Utilising positive habits in an effective manner depends greatly on how you choose to integrate them into the consciousness of your company. This is a process, not an event. It is to be done slowly, over time. The benefits are boundless and will be felt sooner rather than later because everybody wants to talk about how they feel. Most are just waiting for someone they respect, to listen.

Barton Goldsmith
Dr Barton Goldsmith, PhD, an award-winning and highly sought-after keynote speaker, business consultant and internationally syndicated author, has helped develop creative and balanced leadership in several Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organisations worldwide. He lives in California, USA.


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