For many of us, we spend incredible amounts of time at the office or interacting with co-workers, managers and bosses. It’s inevitable that conflicts and problems will arise between employees. If you have ever experienced workplace negativity or conflict, you know it is not an uplifting feeling. It can often distract you from your purpose, goals, and also hurt your self-esteem. As managers, conflict can be even more tricky. Managing different personalities means learning to understand what each person needs emotionally and what motivates them.
Finding answers to help employees and employers solve the problems is often difficult. Unfortunately, it can also lead to talented employees or managers to quit or become disenfranchised with their work environment. Studies have shown that a lack of appreciation is often cited as a reason an employee leaves a company. It can also be said that workplaces can become diseased with negativity, gossip and small circles or clicks.
To help develop a workplace culture steeped in kindness, grace, and respect, Nicole J. Phillips and Dr. Neal Nybo have written a workbook, Workplace Positivity, that provides clear repeatable steps that leaders and managers can utilize to bring the best out in their people. Here are some of their thoughts on how small and large companies can benefit from eliminating negativity from the workplace.
1. Congratulations on your latest adventure that helps us utilize kindness in the workplace. Who would benefit best from this book?
Anyone who would like a fresh perspective in their workplace would find this guide and workbook helpful. CEO’s, managers, and team leaders who could use proven tools and actions to shift their office climate and improve employee engagement and productivity will find this workbook particularly beneficial.
2. You both believe that kindness is a vital element missing in many corporations and organizations. How does this book address that issue?
The way we treat each other is often overshadowed by busy-ness and productivity, yet it is the most important trait to strive for in our daily lives. We all just want to be noticed. When we shift our eyes off of ourselves long enough to remind someone else that they matter, we are actually reminding ourselves that we matter! Kindness is so amazing like that — it is constantly rippling. It truly is the most important vital element to a company’s emotional success. All our material is based on research around employee engagement, retention, and culture.
3. The 30 micro-actions are straightforward. How does it benefit the reader to do the exercise you include in the book?
It is said that people remember twenty percent of what they hear and seventy-five percent of what they do. The exercises give readers a chance to “do” the micro-actions or at least to reflect on specific situations and plan how they are going to do them in the near future. Start small and pick one or two micro-actions to try in a week. You will quickly be able to see how a single micro-action can change your entire day, week, or project. But you won’t be the only person to notice— there is a definite “trickle effect” as others begin to feel the change in office climate.
4. One of the micro-actions is “Excuse yourself from the gossip.” How does that happen in a work environment?
The water cooler is the traditional magnet for the latest whispering. Even if you are not the one doing the talking, just being part of the “secret circle” can get you caught in the snare. Consider this, instead of getting caught up in an uncomfortable situation, grab your water and walk away. If you are questioned for leaving, feel free to say “I’m trying something new and I’m working on adding more positivity to my life, so I’ve decided to put myself on a need-to-know basis.” You can also try a simple glance at a watch or phone and a quick “I’ll be right back” can convey a person’s choice to not participate in gossip without confronting it directly or causing others to lose face.
5. Another micro-action is Give Grace. What do you mean by that? We love that you give examples of what to say in certain situations.
Give Grace means to know that none of us really knows what each other is going through. Even though things may look similar on the outside, we really have no idea what circumstances or situations lie beneath the surface. When someone’s actions seem peculiar or hurtful, give grace means to take a big deep breath and allow patience and space to build understanding and compassion whether it is deserved or not. This micro-action will produce a stronger and more positive work culture.
6. It’s been documented in one study that 79% of employees cite a lack of appreciation as a reason they leave a company. Can managers learn ways to acknowledge employees better in your workbook?
Yes! Praise Publicly and Make it Personal are two micro-actions managers can do today to increase employee appreciation. An example of Praise Publicly would be to start a meeting off by saying “Let’s take a moment to recognize the quick response time in which Joe from IT handled that situation.” An example of “Make it Personal” would be to double check an email before you send it out and add a line that says “Hope you enjoyed the sunshine last weekend” or “Thanks for being a great team member.”
7. We love the micro-action “Reject thoughts that don’t serve you.” This one works at the office but also in our daily lives outside of work. Would you agree?
We absolutely agree that rejecting thoughts that don’t serve you helps increase positivity everywhere. For example, someone rushes by us over the speed limit. Let’s reject our initial thought that is often something like, “What a selfish ….” and instead replace it with, “Oh, I hope everything is okay with that person. I’m glad I don’t feel so much anxiety or pressure that I have to rush like that.” Even as you read those statements, you can feel the difference each causes in us.
We also love sharing a thought from Dr. Phil who suggests that the tone of an evening at home can be determined within the first four minutes someone walks through the door. Instead of wondering why your spouse didn’t start dinner or your children didn’t do their homework yet, enter your home thinking about something you are thankful for. Reject the negative “Why didn’t they…?” And replace it with “I’m grateful that…”
Learn more about Nicole J Phillips and Dr. Neal Nybo by visiting nealnybo.com/workplacepositivity.