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how to create a positive workplace culture leadership coach anne koopmann

How to Create a Positive Workplace Culture

A positive workplace culture at its core is an environment where team members really enjoy coming to work. A place that provides inspiration, creativity and team members are engaged in their roles.

Everyone is contributing towards a similar goal and are in the business to make a difference.

What does a positive workplace culture look like for you? What is your own definition of a positive work environment?

If you aren’t sure where to start to achieve this, or are looking for inspiration to create a positive place of work for your team, these are the top 8 tips to help guide you!

1. Know your Leadership Values, the Company’s Values and the Team’s Values

Creating a positive workplace culture really comes down to the values. The first one is your own leadership values. It is about asking yourself these questions:

  • What are my values (what do I stand for)?
  • How do these show up in my day to day?
  • How do these show up in my leadership?
  • How do I make decisions based on my values?
  • How do I provide feedback based on my values?

But also, a positive workplace culture looks at the values of the company. If you work for a bigger corporation, what are their values and how are they lifted? How do your values work together with the company values? Where are they similar, where are they different? What does that mean for you as a leader? Where’s the potential conflict?

Lastly, the team values. What does your team stand for? What does your team want to achieve and how do they really want to share? Looking at values is key so that everyone understands your personal leadership values, the main values of the organisation and the leadership values or the values of the team.

If you would like some help on understanding your leadership values, download this great free workbook. This workbook will guide you to identifying your core values and how they show up in your leadership everyday.

2. Build Trust 

Trust is a big one for creating a positive workplace culture. The key really is that you trust first as a leader, you have to give trust before you can receive trust back. What would it mean to you if there was a lack of trust in your team? Or in general? In any team.

Potentially your team doesn’t know each other. Maybe they haven’t spent enough time together to bond.

It means that the team is not really comfortable with sharing personal details, being vulnerable, admitting mistakes, or asking for help.

As a leader, you should spend time getting to know every team member and support them to understand each other as well. What are their motivators and drivers? What are everybody’s strengths?

And most importantly lead by example. If you share your mistakes, if you ask openly for help, your team will start to see that that’s the norm and that it’s okay.

When they make mistakes, make sure that you’re there in a supportive way and coach them through it. Empower them to find the solution themselves.

Slowly, you will start to build trust with and within the team. It takes investment, and it takes empathy.

3. Create Psychological Safety

If you can improve the psychological safety in your team, you can work to create a positive workplace culture. What does that mean?

Amy Edmondson defined psychological safety as the belief that no one will be punished or disadvantaged if they make a mistake or if they show up with questions with vulnerability.

It is about giving people in your team a safe space to speak up about their ideas, concerns, questions, and mistakes.

To understand if you have psychological safety established in your team, ask yourself, do team members come with you with their mistakes, with their doubts, with their questions? Do they feel safe to take risks and learn from their mistakes? Do they feel safe to criticise you and give you feedback? Do people in your team feel like it’s okay to ask for help? So these can be quite good hints for you to figure out if you have psychological safety established in your team.

You can learn more about psychological safety in a podcast episode here.

4. Integrate Wellbeing

Establishing a positive workplace culture is to focus on the wellbeing of your team.

How are they feeling? How are their stress levels? How is their personal life affected? Do they have resilience and coping mechanisms in place? How can you help them to cope? Try and answer these questions to get an understanding of the wellbeing culture in your team.

The key is to have regular conversations about wellbeing and even build it into the personal development plan for each employee. Make this part of your discussions of your goal settings to help them focus on their wellbeing.

5. Create Workplace Relationships and Connection

This fifth tip is focusing on workplace relationships and connection.

How do people feel as part of your team? Do they feel like they belong? Do they feel like they can trust the people in their team? Do they know each other? Do they have enough moments to really build those connections? You need to have a good level of self-awareness to be able to understand whether your team feels connected.

So start to think about, is there anything that you can put in place? Any regular meetings, any regular social interactions? So people really can get to know each other. Give people a space outside of work to connect. We spend a lot of time with the people we work with and, although we can’t get on with everyone, we can try to build good relationships within our teams.

6. Build on a Common Purpose and Meaningful Work

People want to work for something that is meaningful. They want to know that what they work for has a bigger purpose, and is going to create change.

Sometimes it’s all about trying to find out how you can make the goal of the company meaningful. How can you create something powerful behind that? How can you connect it to their personal lives? To help them see how working towards the company’s goals is going to help them achieve a personal goal as well?

Then look at how you can create a common purpose amongst your team members, so that they really feel like they’re working together towards something. It takes creativity and connection. But this can help to create a more positive work environment. When everyone has a purpose.

7. Create a Strengths-Based Feedback Culture

This step is all about establishing a good feedback culture. So is it the norm that people give and receive feedback towards you as their leader, but also the team.

Are you focusing on making sure that this is strength-based feedback that leads with positive intent that focuses on what the people are good at? To help your team members amplify doing the things they do best naturally in order to achieve the challenges and goals?

People crave ongoing feedback. They want to know how they’re going. They want to feel appreciated regularly. They want to get some feedback on how they’re tracking against the goals.

What are you checking mechanisms to provide feedback regularly and really making sure that you open up the dialogue?

Don’t just wait for once or twice a year. The performance reviews really provide feedback on the guard. So everybody knows where they’re at and how they’re tracking their goals and expectations.

8. Work on Development and Coaching

Lastly, it is about creating a culture of development.

Individuals want to feel like you are investing in them. That you care about their development and their personal goals, help them become better at what they do, help them achieve their career goals. Even if that means that they will move on. The best compliment for you is that your employees will move on to an awesome role.

So how can you help them get there, invest in training, ask them what they want to do, give feedback, and really see how you can create this culture that focuses on being employee driven.

How people step into their strength, help them do what they do best every day. How can you shift their role? How can you shift their tasks? How can you create an environment that fulfils the needs of their strengths so that they can be at their best every day?

A leadership style that is focused on coaching is going to help your team figure out what they want to do for themselves. Ask really deep questions so that they can reflect on who they are, what it is that they want, where they can improve, where they think they can invest in them.

Really look at helping and supporting your team with a coaching style approach. This will help them to figure their own solutions. That’s really going to create a difference within the team.

Final thoughts 

From these 8 tips, it is about working at what areas you need to focus on the most. Don’t think you have to implement each tip right now. Do a quick check in on all eight and see what needs your attention first.

Start to take some actions to build this positive environment where people are seen and appreciated for what they bring to the job.

If you are looking for more guidance and need to check in with the values you have as a leader, this is the best place to start. You can do that by downloading this values workbook.

Or if you are ready to create a positive workplace environment now with help and support, I provide customised coaching and training programs based on various in-person and online options for the manager, their teams and the whole organisation.

The solutions incorporate a blended approach of learning, interactive exercises and assessments.

The session lengths can be customised to the needs of your organisation. Options include 1h, 2h, half-day or full-day workshops as well as 1:1 coaching sessions. Learn more here.

If you liked this article, I would love to hear your biggest takeaway or which action you’re going to take to support your team and build a positive workplace culture. Comment below!