With all of the ups and downs in business, how do you create and maintain a positive work environment?
Sometimes we have an overload of negative issues that impact us as leaders but we have to remember to sort out the bad and focus on the good. Here are a few tactics to help CEO’s and other leaders.
Be Proactive & Evaluate Your Leadership
Start by asking yourself three simple questions: Am I taking this personally? Am I putting in too many hours so I have lost focus? Will this issue have a real impact on the business?
If the answer is no to all three, you can put the situation behind you. If the answer is to the impact on business impact and workload, it will be important to bring in your key team members. Start by conducting a planning meeting to address the facts, and how you and the whole team can address the current issue now and in the future. Bear in mind for this meeting and at all times in the office, you may play a bigger role than you realize in keeping the atmosphere positive. Try turning to the focus on something like a joke or a funny story instead of a dark portended future.
If you are putting too many hours in, take some time off on your calendar. Many leaders forget to take care of themselves, causing things to come out sideways or be viewed sideways when they are exhausted. This when it’s time to take a break. We all need rest. We all need time to rejuvenate.
Being away from work is a necessary part of high performance. According to a recent report from CNN, “About 90 percent of C-Level Execs struggle with work-life balance,” and say that “their jobs are exhausting and emotional.” You have to remember you are the only one who can do something about it. Most CEOs don’t take care of their own personal performance, they struggle at being at their best every day, “We have that training for athletes, why don’t we have it for CEOs looking after hundreds of thousands of people?” Therefore, it is vital for CEOs to set firm work-life boundaries and to make sure they have interests and values outside of work. As counter-intuitive as it may seem when you feel so busy, take time off. Even a day off can reset your perspective when you are most overwhelmed. It’s a smart thing to do regularly.
Plan to Celebrate Success, Big or Small
Ask teammates to share success stories. This can be a positive exercise that encourages future successes. A lot can be learned from one person’s which can help other team members grow or spark thoughts on what they might improve in the way they work. For example, a member of your team has an exceptionally high level of customer satisfaction. Over time she developed her own flow to deal with inquiries and follow up with clients, which has proven to be effective. Allow the employee to go over how and why she created the process she did.
By sharing the positive feedback she received, it not only showcases her work ethic but is also a teaching moment to her peers. This is a nice way of celebrating the success of a teammate that will also benefit the whole team’s performance. This can be done once a month. Nominations can be voted on by team members and be presented by the “winner.”
As a leader, it’s important to take time to celebrate your direct reports achievements. It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day and move on to executing the next task. To support team motivation, victories big and small should be celebrated. Here are a few best practices:
- Public recognition can be even more impactful. There’s no need to go all out; it can be as simple as bringing it up at a team meeting, sharing it with people outside your direct team, or sending a company-wide email. In addition to making your team members feel valued, it also boosts their self-esteem.
- A handwritten thank-you note already goes a long way, but in some cases, you may want to recognize someone’s achievement with a bigger reward. It doesn’t have to be extremely costly; it’s the gesture that counts.
The key to success for rewards is to ensure they are personalized. This shows that you’re not only celebrating your team member’s work but that you also took the time to get to know them as a person. Make an effort to find out what your employees like, what their hobbies are, and what they are passionate about. For example, if an employee likes reading, a book signed by his or her favorite author could make a great gift.
Maintaining a Positive Environment
Building and maintaining a strong team through hard times and good times is a challenging job, particularly when you are busy. Take the time to share your team’s success by celebrating them. Recognize employee achievement and your workforce will be more engaged, motivated and loyal. And make time for yourself in the process – do something fun!