Project Management (Part 4.2): Creating a Positive Work Climate!

Norb Slowikowski / January 2016

In the first half of our discussion we focused on the best ways to create an environment for effective work along with an examination of different leadership styles. For this article, we move on to a look at values and leader behaviors. Taken all together, these traits will give you the building blocks for a positive work climate.
    
To be a “team builder” requires that you have a clear understanding of a person’s values system. It also entails practicing the behaviors that make a positive impact on people while developing core leadership traits that set the right example on the job. Let’s take a detailed look at what goes into these different components:

Values
Values are the key internal motivators. What makes up a “values system?”
    
Respect. Respect is a real belief in treating people the right way. You get it by giving it.
    
Meaning. People want to do meaningful work, not just show up and “punch the clock.” Let them know you couldn’t succeed without them.
    
Big Picture Focus. let your people know they fit into the overall goals of the company. Widen their scope beyond tasks to take larger goals into account.
    
Involvement. Obtain people’s input before making decisions. Someone may have an idea you hadn’t yet considered.
    
Fairness. Treat people equally by always measuring performance against standards.
    
Ownership. Make sure you get people to “buy in” to their jobs by clarifying expectations and giving them the resources they need.
    
Growth. Provide continuous training and coaching so that people develop on the job. Offer promotion when necessary.
    
Investment. When people excel, they expect rewards, so provide incentive for excellent performance.

Behavior
How you behave as a leader has a direct impact on how well people perform. Here are the “10 Leader Behaviors” you should execute in your interactions with others.
    
Involve people when it comes to decisions, big and small.
    
Collaborate
in order to solve problems.
    
Be accessible. You should never be too busy to provide support when people call on you.
    
Remain visible. Spend time with people “on their turf” and see what their day-to-day realities are like.
    
Provide positive reinforcement when your people do something right.
    
Encourage feedback and make sure communication is viewed as essential.
    
Employ active listening. Have a clear understanding of where people are coming from.
    
Be a coach. Help people improve by providing one-on-one attention.
    
Take action. Talk is cheap, so follow through on your words by taking action.
    
Accountability is key. Coach first and make sure people know what to do and how to do it before parting company with them. If they don’t perform well after coaching, there will be consequences for continued negative performance.
    
By combining an understanding of values and behavior, a leadership mindset is created that directly affects all levels of the company. As we noted in Part 1 of this article, creating a positive work climate is connected to employing the “Theory Z” leadership style, which is a style that takes an “everyone is important and we are all connected” approach to leadership. When people can see values at work and behavior in action, they’ll believe they’re in a place where they can do their best work every day. All in all, leadership inspires teamwork, which culminates in higher productivity.

Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill.