How to Create a Workplace You Would Love To Work In

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 My vision is to create a world I want to live in.” — Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman, founder of the Bregman Leadership Institute said this at a recent (and amazing) leadership program.

While his vision deeply resonated with me on a personal level, I also found myself thinking about what a great message it would be when applied to the workplace.

Creating a workplace people would love

More specifically:

What if every employee in every organization consciously acted in ways that embodied the kind of workplace they would love to work in? What if they intentionally treated their colleagues in ways that helped create the kind of workplace they would love to work in?”

Now let’s personalize this.

What if YOU did that?

What if you started each day with the intention of bringing your best self to work and consciously modeled the kinds of behaviors and ways of interacting that you would love to see in others where you work?

Would you be willing to do that?

If you want a more positive, respectful, human-friendly workplace, you don’t have to be the CEO of your company to help make that happen.

You can “Be The Change”

Think about simple Moments of Truth that shape how enjoyable it is to work where you do. These include:

  • How people treat each other when they disagree.
  • How people respond to feedback, especially from peers or subordinates.
  • How people treat those in the organization with less power.
  • Whether people take their commitments seriously.
  • Whether people are willing to hold each other accountable for keeping their commitments and delivering what they promised when they promised.
  • Whether people return emails and voice mails in a timely manner…or at all
  • How people deal with a bad day; whether they take it out on others, or, do their best to not let it spill over into their interactions.

These are just a few of the many Moments of Truth that influence the emotional climate of a workplace. Think about some of the other Moments of Truth that affect how happy you are at work. Then, reflect on how you would love to see people act and treat each other when these occur.

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This can be your guide, your “Lead by Example Personal Development Program.”

The kind of workplace I would love to work in

When I think of my own experiences as an employee, I remember how frustrating and distressing it often was to see how people treated each other — especially those in subordinate positions.

Based on my experiences, here is part of my list of “Here’s the Kind of Place I Would Love to Work At.” You can use this to jump-start your own list of what qualities and behaviors you would like to see more of, so that you can become more intentional about modeling them.

Here’s my partial list:

  1. When people are upset about something, they don’t use sarcasm, passive-aggressive behavior, or other toxic behavior to express their displeasure. They talk directly with the person about it, and they do so in a respectful way. They also truly try to understand the other’s point of view.
  2. Managers are not careless with their position of power. They don’t take liberties with people with less power, including talking to them in a condescending tone of voice or saying things they would never dare say to THEIR boss.
  3. Everybody recognizes that providing great internal customer service is not only critical to the success of the organization, but also the only honorable thing to do.
  4. Managers at all levels respect employees as human beings who have a right to have a personal life, not as machines whose only value is the output they create.
  5. Managers truly demonstrate a Servant Leader mindset vs. a User’s Mindset. In other words, they aren’t only focused on extracting the most out of their employees, but they focus on how they can help their employees perform at their best. They also clearly have their employees’ best interests at heart.
  6. Employees treat their manager and their employer as valuable clients, and try to provide as much value as possible to them.
  7. Every employee, from frontline to the most senior leader, has a small business owner’s mentality. No task is beneath them or not in their job description. They demonstrate initiative and a willingness to go the extra mile, and are always focused on how they can provide more value.

Now, it’s your turn

Whether you write out your list or just do it mentally, don’t just think about this, do something with it. Then practice asking yourself,  “How can I model the qualities and behaviors I would love to see more of in my organization?

Then, look for opportunities to do just that. Look for opportunities to Be the Change.

After you’ve done this for a while and have walked your talk, share with others what you’ve been doing an invite them to examine how they can help create a workplace that they too would love to work in.

David Lee is the founder and principal of HumanNature@work and the creator of Stories That Change. He's an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices that optimize employee performance, morale, and engagement. He is also the author of "Managing Employee Stress and Safety," as well over 100 articles and book chapters. You can download more of his articles at HumanNature@work, contact him at david@humannatureatwork.com, or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/humannaturework.

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