Build Positive Work Cultures

Positive work cultures are more productive, as well as being nicer places to be.

As explained in this article from HBR, a positive environment leads to dramatic benefits for your employees, the employers and of course the bottom line.

This is because there are hidden costs to the pressure that is usually placed on people to perform more, better and faster. And these hidden costs of stress, disengagement and loss of loyalty are surprisingly huge.

So how do you build a more positive work culture? Fundamentally it comes down to the creation of psychological safety – which is underpinned by care. Caring underpins compassion, forgiveness, respect, inspiration and meaning.

Few of us come to work to not care, but to others it may appear as if we care more about results, KPIs, profits, the board, our careers, than about them as a human being…

And this has an impact.

But showing that you care makes you vulnerable, which is an uncomfortable place to be. And yet it is also a place where innovation, loyalty, engagement and effective leadership are born.

Here are three simple things that you can do to help straight away:

Develop your social capital

Your social capital is the quality of your relationships with stakeholders. Good relationships are the basis for positive work cultures; relationships that are robust, reliable and resilient, and are based on a foundation of care and mutual respect. If you don’t know how good your relationships are, here is a way to measure it. Once you know where to focus your attention, you can start building these relationships and taking them to a different level.

Show empathy

Considering others’ feelings about a situation is not a ‘nice to do’ but forms the foundation of change efforts, communication strategies and true collaboration. But seeing the world from someone else’s point of view is not always easy, especially when our buttons are being pushed. Try using the acronym ‘MRI’ to help you; ask yourself what is the ‘Most Respectful Interpretation’ of a situation.

For example, if someone cuts you up at the traffic lights, instead of thinking ‘stupid person’ in your head, you could have a more respectful interpretation – they are rushing to the hospital, or desperate for the loo… Each of these starts to help you see things differently and calm down our initial reaction.


Listening is a gift to give. It shows that you value what the other person has to say. Shut yourself up for a minute and just listen, without giving away your thoughts, judgements or advice. Just listen. You might be surprised at the impact.

As a wise colleague once said ‘you can’t do any harm by giving someone a damn good listening to!’

If you would like help developing a positive work culture in your organisation, do get in touch. Positive workplaces are exciting places to be, where hard work gets done AND fun things happen AND new ideas emerge.

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