There are many things that can impact a workplace, both positively and negatively. Any change, of course, can result in short-term uncertainty and discomfort. But what can really kill a positive team environment? When we conduct our workplace assessment surveys, here are three of the biggest team killers we find:
The air conditioning has been broken for three months. People are working in cramped spaces with no respite in site. The temperamental photocopier hasn’t been replaced for two years. When issues like this exist in the workplace, and a company fails to take action, the team gets the message that they aren’t very important. As a manager, you need to make sure you address issues right away. Even if you can’t fix the issue immediately, acknowledge it and let people know you’re not ignoring it.
When a leader does not clearly and frequently communicate with employees, or if there is no effective communication protocol in place, an environment becomes ripe for rumor and gossip. In a communication void, people will instinctively try and fill the void, and try and make sense of things through speculation. The result is rarely positive. Make sure you give people all the facts you can as frequently as you can.
Negative Employees (and Managers)
A single employee with a poor attitude – someone who is chronically negative – can destroy the morale of an entire team if left unchecked. If the employee reports to you, deal with it. If it’s your coworker, ask him (her) to stop. If it’s you, think about how much your complaining is harming the business, your reputation and your future.
The good news is that, once you’ve identified any of these challenges, they’re fairly easy to address.
[This is from the Archive Project – where we are attempting to get 10 years of Winning at Work on the web! Original publication date: 15 May, 2005]
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience, employee engagement and workplace performance for 23 years