creating a healthy environment at work

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” ~Betty Bender

Creating a Healthy Environment at Work

I have come to learn from coaching executives and managers both one-on-one and in teams that a healthy work environment can make all the difference.  So, how do you create a healthy work environment?

I got some inspiring responses last week in my post how to Increase Your Happiness by Choosing the Right Relationships.  One woman shared…. “I just resigned from an Office RN position because of the toxic and negative environment. There are only three of us in the office. The office manager is a very controlling and manipulative person. Your newsletters helped me to realize how unhealthy this setting was.”

Wow!  That took a lot of courage.  My guess is that many of you are looking for the courage to leave a job or a relationship because of a negative environment.

One reason I say that is because for many years I taught Organizational Management to masters students at Antioch University Santa Barbara.  It made me sad that quarter after quarter my students told me horror stories from their jobs—stories that were completely contrary to what I was teaching them.

Finally, one day I said to them, “I wish it wasn’t true, but unfortunately, it seems that bad management is more the norm than the exception.  I am fully confident that you all will be leaders one day; I believe that you can learn as much from a bad example as a good one. You are learning what not to do as a leader and a manager.”

The Great Workplace Institute has found that productive work environments are characterized by a high level of trust.   You can read more about The Great Workplace, but one of the most important ways to create trust is with open communication.  When I am hired to work with an organization that has a culture of low-trust, I work with the managers to be more transparent and help them to create opportunities for dialogue.  The more that people know and understand one another the easier it is to feel trust.

Research on positivity by Losada has found that for work teams to flourish they need a positive to negative ratio of 5:1.  If you are part of a team that needs a positivity tune up, trying starting off meetings by having people report on what went well since the last time you met instead of what their problems are.  As a team, look for successes instead of failures and focus on individual strengths instead of weaknesses.

Lastly, a healthy environment at work is one that fosters the importance of each individual and their unique role. A healthy environment at work allows each individual to thrive by developing their own unique strengths. Sometimes jobs need to be tweaked so that someone can excel in their role and leverage their strengths. This may be true for you too. If you haven’t discovered your strengths by taking the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment yet, you can take it here for free

Coaching Questions:

What can you do to create a healthy environment at work? Do you know and foster your strengths and the strengths of those on your team? How can you increase your positivity ratio?

If you want help creating a more positive environment at work or at home, creating a work culture characterized by more trust, or need support to have the courage to leave a “toxic” environment, contact me here to set up an introductory no fee coaching session or consultation today!

Appreciatively,

Dr. Lynn K Jones

Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Board Certified Coach and an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry. She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves. A MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment and Leadership to social work students at the University of Southern California.

2 Comments

  1. Calla Gold on April 28, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    The work environment is a big part of our day to day lives. Most of us spend around 40+ hours working, and if it’s full of bad energy, that’s a lot of time in a toxic setting. Management is key in this feeling. Bad managers breed bad employees breed bad work environment breeds bad customer experiences. It’s a long cycle that definitely starts at the top! Opening up the lines of communication does wonders for how everyone feels about the work place!

    • Dr. Lynn K. Jones on April 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Calla,
      It is so true, we spend too much time and energy at work to let it be negative! Thanks for adding that to the discussion!
      Appreciatively,
      Lynn

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