Want a positive workplace? Be a positive leader

Monday, February 15, 2016 - 18:19

Guest post by Alison Vidotto

A key responsibility of any leader is to create a positive workplace culture for their team. There is no question of the many benefits that come as a result of having a positive, engaged team. So where do we begin?

The answer lies within ourselves. If we want to be surrounded by positive, optimistic people, then we need to reflect those behaviours. We need to lead by example.

This isn’t always as easy as it sounds, particularly during times of high stress or when we are facing unexpected challenges. However, it’s worth remembering that energy is contagious, whether it is positive or negative. I think we can all think of someone who can drag down the mood of a room in no time, and of course there are those who can lift the mood just as quickly.

That is your role, to lift the atmosphere and maintain positivity. It is how you, as leader, respond and react to challenges that will impact the overall mood and mindset of your team. You are setting the tone, so make sure it is a good one.

The following tips will help.

Take an objective look for the positive aspects

When we look closely at a situation we can usually find something positive to focus on, even if it is a lesson learned for next time. By focusing on the positive rather than dwelling on the negative you are showing your team how to be resilient in the face of adversity. You are also reducing the amount of time lost in bemoaning the outcome or looking for someone or something to blame.    

Have a sense of humour

An occasional laugh at work can do wonders for office morale. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know your staff on a more personal level. They will soon offer up their own titbits of humour as they relax and feel more comfortable with you. This does not need to detract from the overall mission and purpose of your business. It increases the team engagement and builds stronger relationships.

Show some gratitude

We all like to be acknowledged for our efforts. It makes us feel good, it also increases employee engagement and contributes to a positive workplace culture, this in turn increases productivity. Take the time to observe your staff, when you see them doing a good job or achieving a good result, let them know. Let others know too, a public show of gratitude builds good relationships between you and your team. Small rewards also go a long way in contributing to a positive culture. Developing this habit will soon have you thinking positively and looking for the positive around you.

Build Resilience

How you deal with a challenge or failure sends a clear message to your team. If you take a clear look at what occurred for what it is, learn from it and encourage your team to move on towards the end goal you will see an increase in positive culture. Knowing that they can recover from setbacks and keep moving forward will build their resilience.

Use Self-awareness and Self-control

There is nothing worse than working for someone who cannot manage stressful situations. Employees will often withdraw or even look for other opportunities if they feel really uncomfortable. Get to know your staff, observe how they react to your behaviour, particularly in stressful situations.

It is vital that you observe the impact your behaviour has on those around you. It is also vital that you are in control of your emotions. After all, if you can’t control your own behaviour, how are you going to control the workplace atmosphere? 

Alison Vidotto is an award winning author, professional speaker, CEO of Vidotto Group, leadership trainer and Founder and Managing Director of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam.