Monday, July 24, 2017

Accentuate the Positive

Over the course of my career, I have been a part of some highly-effective and highly-productive teams. Working on these teams made me excited to come to work every day. It also enabled me and my fellow team members to be creative and motivated, and to accomplish a tremendous amount. What did these teams have in common? They were comprised of positive individuals working as a healthy, happy group toward a common goal.

It all starts at the top. Positive teams are led by positive leaders, so start with yourself. Invest in your own health and happiness as well as your professional and personal growth. Your positive attitude will inspire and motivate others to work hard and embrace their own positivity.

Before you can encourage positivity in your team, you need to remove any barriers to it. First, understand what causes dissatisfaction at work, and then do your best to remove the sources of frustration. Maybe there are policies that your team finds dispiriting, or perhaps they are interested in greater professional development or flexible schedule opportunities. Often these are things that cost (financially or emotionally) you very little to address, but the solution means a tremendous amount to your team. Second - and this is what is really crucial - determine what provides them satisfaction in their jobs and add more of that into the mix. Finally, if you have a negative personality on the team that is bringing the rest of the group down, you need to address it. Through coaching, positive reinforcement and effective listening, hopefully you can turn that bad attitude into a positive one.

Now that you have removed the obstacles that could derail positivity in your team, you can start managing for positivity. Here’s how:

  • Articulate your goals for the team and your vision for the organization. If team members have a clear idea where they are headed and why, they are more likely to embrace the task at hand.
  • Make sure each team member knows his or her role and understands his or her specific responsibilities. This will enable them to feel comfortable and confident in what they are doing.
  • Keep an open line of communication with your team. And make sure they are informed on developments within your organization so they feel included, valued and trusted.
  • Provide your team with a level of autonomy and independence as well as offer opportunities for growth and professional development.
  • Give your team members the support and resources they need to do their jobs effectively.
  • Remember that positivity starts with you and that team members’ behavior is deeply affected by their interactions with you. Continue to evaluate and tweak how you communicate with them.

Cultivating a positive team is not a finite process nor does it happen overnight. To achieve long-term positivity, you have to work at it every day. But that work that will pay off in meaningful and significant ways. In addition to the suggestions above, I recommend that you continue to build up your team members’ self-esteem and self-confidence. This is done through ongoing communication, coaching and positive affirmations of your team’s work and progress.

Life is too short for work not to be enjoyable. By cultivating a sense of positivity in those around you, your team will not only become more productive and creative, but you can also enjoy the process.

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