Be Positive THREE WAYS TO CREATE A POSITIVE
Shutterstock.Sumkinn/It’s a traditional belief that the needs
of the organization trump employees’
needs. This belief has become a barrier
for many leaders to adapting a more
modern leadership perspective. The opposite
belief – that employees’ needs trump
those of the company – isn’t true either.
Today’s leader needs to adopt a belief
that’s rooted in mutually beneficial outcomes:
how do leaders meet the needs of
both the organization and its employees?
When leaders maintain the traditional
view that the organization is mightier than
anything else, it blocks a critical work reality
from emerging – workplace optimism.
WHAT IS WORKPLACE
Workplace optimism isn’t just a part of an
organization’s culture. Workplace optimism
is a characteristic of the organizational or
team climate. Climate is how it feels to
work somewhere. It’s based on employees’
perceptions of the work environment.
Climate is significantly influenced by
a leader’s style. According to the Hay
Group, a leader’s style has the greatest
influence on employees’ perception of the
work environment. Employees in a positive
climate, or an optimistic workplace,
outperform those in negative climates by
10 to 30 per cent.
Outdated beliefs aren’t the only barriers
to workplace optimism. There are four
other major barriers that interfere with
creating a positive work climate.
If a leader’s style is so important to creating
workplace optimism, it becomes more
dubious when she is unaware of the impact
she is having on her team. A leader
unaware of her impact doesn’t use the
motivating importance of purpose, organizationally
or personally. Additionally,
she doesn’t connect the dots between people’s
work and the organization’s direction.
The consequence of this is minimized
impact to the organization’s goals and employees’
Workplace optimism will struggle to
emerge if a leader doesn’t understand the
influence she has on people and results.
Instead it causes confusion and frustration.
This isn’t antisocial in the psychological
sense; rather, this is about a leader’s
resistance to embrace social behaviours
illuminated by the growing influence of
social technology. Antisocial leaders don’t
encourage, build or evolve a community of
people united by a shared purpose.
This barrier also prevents a leader
from seeing the importance of belonging.
According to Gallup, we spend one-third
of our life working. Shouldn’t a major
part of our lives be a positive influence?
Belonging helps employees feel positive
about where they work.
Another barrier to workplace optimism
is the outdated belief that profit is the
primary success measure for business.
Leaders with profit myopia are focused
primarily on the short-term. Their teams
chase solutions that satisfy stakeholders
and/or short-term goals, alienating customers
Employees will likely struggle to find
work meaningful, a major contributor to
By Shawn Murphy
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ MARCH/APRIL 2016 ❚ 29