6 Ways to Create a More Positive Atmosphere at Work

1.?Variation on ?Three Good Things?
Individuals can benefit from writing down three good things that happened to them that day in a notebook just before they go to bed. This exercise works by? re-educating an individual?s attention so that they look for what?s right with their life rather than focus on what?s wrong. Leaders can introduce a variation of this by beginning meetings with everyone saying what?s gone well since they last met. Display boards can also be used for staff to write up things they feel positive about.

2.?Enhancing the sense of meaning and purpose
Individuals commonly report that what they like about work is the sense of meaning and purpose it gives them ? i.e. serving a goal larger than themselves. Modern target-driven organisations often discourage individuals from focusing on why the job personally matters and so this type of job satisfaction is often underplayed. Finding ways to keep staff connected to a sense of purpose can be motivating and encourage more positive feelings. This can be done by having a strong vision or mission and talking about this more at meetings. Finding ways to tell inspiring stories about how staff?s work affects clients is another useful way to do this.

3.?Building strong relationships between manager and staff
The quality of a person?s job is affected most by the relationship they have with their immediate manager or supervisor. It is impossible to create a positive climate at work without having strong, positive relationships between managers and employees. This cannot easily be done without time. Managers must spend time talking to employees and investing in their relationships. A specific technique called the Personal Management Interview can facilitate this.?

4.?Encourage optimistic thinking
In any situation where the risk of failure is not high - e.g. anything concerning growth or development or adjusting to something where you have little choice (such as a job change which you have to accept) ? then it usually pays to take an optimistic view and anticipate a good outcome.?In organisations where a pessimistic view predominates (eg in team meetings) it can be helpful if this is discouraged by those in leadership positions. The two important aspects of pessimistic thinking at work are ?

a.?Seeing problems as permanent and intractable rather than temporary and amenable to a solution.
b.?Viewing problems as worse than they are. Rather than containing problems pessimists tend to exaggerate them so that they affect all areas of life. Optimists by contrast tend to restrict the problem to the immediate difficulty. This make the problem less overwhelming.

Pessimistic thinking is often driven by fear, not fact. The best way to build optimism is to dispute the pessimistic thoughts with facts. Even where a problem is long-lasting and serious often if it possible to ?decatastrophise? it. For example, considering other times when a major problem was finally accommodated, or got round, can be helpful. This insight can encourage people to perceive themselves as resilient rather than powerless.

5.?Reduce negativity

Another way to boost the ratio of positive to negative in an organisation is to reduce the amount of negativity and worrying. One way to do this is to encourage staff to make a distinction between the things they can control and the things they can?t control. There?s no point fretting and being negative about things which will happen anyway and which they have no control over. It is much more productive for people to focus their energy and attention on the things which are in their ?circle of influence?. Ironically, people who do this are much more likely to be influential and have a bigger circle of influence than people who moan and complain.

6.?Encouraging a growth mindset

People who endorse a growth mindset?believe that ability can improve and develop with hard work and effort. ?Research shows that people with a growth mindset tend to do better than those of equal or superior intelligence but who have a belief that intelligence is fixed and unchangeable - a fixed mindset.? Below are some tips for encouraging a growth mindset at work.?

Establish a growth ethos: Create an environment which works around the evidence that intelligence and ability can be cultivated.? Do this by teaching about mindset and referring to it at appropriate times.? Another way to esablish a growth ethos is to model a growth mindset. In other words, ?'be the change you want to see'. This may mean telling people how you have learned various skills and about your own development.?

Work with the whole system: For example, teach all tutors or managers about mindsets.? This means that they can influence and inspire others in your organisation.? This will create a change in the whole system. You can print off a power point slide show from the mindset section of our website.

Prime the environment: Use pictures and words to reinforce a growth mindset. For example, a seed growing into a flower illustrates the point about growth and development. ?If you use a talent management approach appraise whether this is creating an environment where people are labelled and judged.?

Give growth feedback: When giving people feedback on their performance couch any criticism in terms of where they are now and concentrate on performance. For example, it is not ?useful to say 'you aren't a good writer'. It is better to describe the problem in a more specific ways. For example, 'I think you need to get better at sentence construction. Try to write shorter sentences. Read out what you have written and see how it sounds, etc. etc.'