Almost everyone has endured a job that makes getting up in the morning pure drudgery–when one must force oneself to go to work, only to find we cannot wait to leave. Hopefully, everyone has also had the experience of a great team and a job that is fulfilling and a joy to perform. The work culture is a huge part of making our work meaningful and fulfilling. Few people think about what makes one environment or team culture a great one and the other a poisonous place. However, if we force the question, most say, “It is the people and how we treat one another.”

The culture of most teams is usually a random combination of personalities and dynamics between employees that just happens. To create and maintain a positive work environment, all employees and leadership need two things—‘The Will’ and ‘The Skill’ to work through the natural and inevitable problems that arise from working in close proximity with other human beings. Unless you work remotely, alone in a cave, and never invite anyone over, you will find yourself in conflict at times. Are you poorly, adequately or well-prepared?

Do you know how to present problems you have with others in a way they can hear without feeling attacked? If someone presents a problem to you in an improper manner, can you hear their need and interest and let them know you heard it in order to de-escalate them long enough to negotiate an agreement? It is doubtful, unless you are prepared ahead of time with training and practice the skills you learned. Every employer and employee needs to learn communication and conflict resolution skills, but skills are the easy part. It is ‘The Will’ that is a challenge to build in a workforce.

When assisting a business in deliberate development of positive work culture—via creation of ‘Team Norms’–we ask work groups to construct guidelines—or ‘norms of behavior’—to which coworkers agree to hold one another accountable in the workplace. Team Norms, are facilitated among employees who brainstorm the elements of their ‘ideal’ workplace, as well as creating accountability strategies that can prevent or quickly eliminate negative interactions. Whether problems already exist in your culture; or you already have a great workplace culture; these norms can resolve current issues or serve as prevention of development of negative behaviors in the future. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

The power of Team Norms lies in the buy-in created within a team that works to develop them together and commits to holding each other accountable to them. People abide by the norms because they created the expectations! They hold each other accountable because they come to value the positive environment in which they work and want to protect it. When organizations combine the power of Team Norms with Conflict Resolution & Communication Skills Training—companies save time, money, productivity and human resources! Well worth any company’s investment!

Call Innovative Alternatives to begin building a better work culture for your dream team!

713.222.2525 ask to speak with Matt Morse.