The Green Sheet Online Edition
September 23, 2013 • Issue 13:09:02
Roll out the welcome mat at work
Are you fostering a creative environment at the office, one in which all individuals feel valued, not just for doing the tasks assigned to them, but also for their thoughts on how your enterprise can become even more successful than it already is?
The more that spirited, respectful communication flows among workers at all levels of a company, the more every person will feel like part of a team rather than like an easily replaced cog. And when people know they are valued team members, they are happier, more productive and more able to contribute their best to the company.
Five ways to foster dynamic interactions
Sounds good, doesn't it? Here are five tips on how to help provide your staff just such an environment:
- Say hello. If you walk into the office with your shoulders hunched, talking on your cell phone, and not noticing the folks you pass on the way to your desk, it's time to change. When you enter the office, look around to see who's there. Then smile and say a warm hello. Do the same – daily – for everyone you pass en route to your desk. This one action can transform an office environment for the better.
- Converse. Small talk can establish rapport and begin to build safety in relationships. If you ride in the elevator with someone you don't know well, for example, or if you're waiting with other team members for a turn at the office microwave, strike up a conversation and listen well to what others have to say.
- Seek input often. Ask your staff for their opinions regularly, not just during formal meetings or when it's time to fill out a survey. If you're working on a problem, ask for help. Stop into someone's office and solicit advice, or call a brainstorming session. And appreciate the ideas shared, even if they're not feasible.
- Use other people's ideas. If you ask folks for input, but never follow through on their suggestions, they'll get discouraged, and they will not be engaged the next time you face a challenge. So, do more than acknowledge their suggestions – put the good ones to use.
- Spread kindness. People like to be appreciated. It costs nothing to periodically mention something positive about each of your colleagues. It could be work-related, such as a terrific report completed or a record-breaking week of sales, or it could be something personal, like a new haircut or a colorful photo mounted on an office wall.
These ideas aren't new by any means; they're just easy to forget. I hope I've helped to remind you what a big difference these small actions can make to a company's overall health.
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