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July 24, 2010

5 Tips For Creating A Relational Work Environment


I’m shocked when I hear and see what goes on in some work environments.  Between managers being cold and rude to their employees, bosses yelling at employees, managers refusing to be accountable for their own mistakes yet demanding their employees be accountable for theirs and co-workers talking bad about one another, it’s no wonder companies often do so poorly.

When companies create a cutthroat work environment and don’t take care of their employees, the odds of that company making it decrease drastically.  Why?  Because high tension, non-relational work environments lead to high turnover, lower productivity, more infighting and loads of resentment.  The bottom line is: not taking care of your employees is just plain BAD BUSINESS.

Here are 5 things business leaders can do to create a healthy work environment:
1.    Speak to all employees with respect at all times.  No matter how big the mistake, never allow any one to be verbally assaulted by anyone in the company.  Create an atmosphere where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities not shaming opportunities.
2.    As a leader, model healthy communication.  Build your employees up rather than tearing them down.  Teach them and mentor them—don’t scold and shame them.
3.    Model what you want your employees to master.   If you want excellent customer service than give excellent customer service.  If you want your employees to be accountable, then you be accountable.  Own your mistakes and they will feel as though they can own theirs.

4.    Be available and approachable.  Just because you own the company or are in a position of authority does not mean you are too important for people to talk to.  Be real, be humble and be approachable.  Have an open door policy—it will help you keep your finger on the pulse of your company.
5.    Create a supportive atmosphere in your company and listen to your employee’s complaints.  Have your employees back and encourage them to have one another’s back.  Competition should be with other companies not within your own.

The best companies realize that when they take care of their employees their employees take care of them.   Creating a great work environment lowers the turnover rate, increases productivity and leads to more creativity and ingenuity in the workplace.   All of these factors increase the bottom line.

Creating a healthy work environment is one of the best business decisions a leader will ever make.  If you struggle with a short fuse, are harsh with your employees or treat your employees like they are peons, then get yourself healthy.  The success of your company will depend on it.

CHALLENGE:  If you are a leader in your company, then learn to lead effectively.  Create a healthy work environment—starting with you.  Model what you want your employees to master.  Refuse to allow anyone in the company to tear anyone else down. Encourage honest, open dialogue and when your employees to use their voice—listen.


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