When was the last time you stepped back and asked, “What’s really happening in my work environment?” and “Is my team thriving personally and professionally”? Research data on workplace satisfaction would say that many workplace environments are negative, and employee engagement continues to plummet. Yet the complexity of issues facing organizations is greater than ever. Thus, our greatest resource, employees, must be positioned to contribute their many talents, succeed and thrive.
While you may not be able to change your entire organization, I encourage you to do what you can to improve your work environment and the relationship with your team and amongst your team members. Here are some simple approaches to begin your work to make a more positive and productive environment:
Prioritize – How many of you feel like everything is urgent? If you do, certainly your team will be confused and not know what projects to tackle first. No, not everything is urgent!
Identify your strategic priorities. What tasks advance that work? Who needs to focus on what work?
Once you’ve identified the critical work, communicate that on a regular basis. The daily fires can pull people off course; they need continual reminders of the priorities.
Clarify roles, responsibilities and expectations – After you have identified priority work, identify who is responsible for the work. Who will lead the work? What decision-making authority do the different team members have? What resources and/or support will be needed to achieve success? Be very clear about the desired outcomes and the necessary timeline for delivery.
Provide routine feedback – Once you are clear on priorities and expectations it is important to provide feedback along the way. Feedback will allow teams to course correct if they are going in the wrong direction, and it can also encourage and reward employees for moving positively toward the needed outcomes. Frequently, teams will also discover new approaches while working on projects. Routine feedback sessions will allow new learnings to be uncovered.
Reflection: When have you thrived in your work? What made the work environment a positive one where you grew and achieved success?