Your Effect on the Work Environment

Impact on team

Sometimes in workshops I ask participants to describe a fantastic workplace. To aid in the creation of their description, I ask them to imagine that they have just completed the first week on a new job. They feel delighted and lucky to have gotten this job because based on their first impressions, it is going to be the best place they’ve ever worked.

Their assignment is to create a list of what they’ve noticed in their coworkers that have led them to the conclusion that this is the place they hoped it would be. Here are some of the items that typically show up on their lists:

  • Smiling
  • Courtesy
  • Reaching out to make someone comfortable
  • Supportive of someone who is struggling
  • Clean and tidy environment
  • Laughing and having fun
  • Recognition of accomplishments
  • Common goals
  • A comfortable feeling
  • Open communication

Once they’ve completed their list, it’s time to bring them back from that imaginary new job to the place they actually work. I ask them how well their current work group matches up with their list. Many times they tell me that there are significant gaps between ideal and actual.

New leader training and coaching

It’s at this point that things get strange. When asked, most will say they would like to work in the environment they described. So how is it that everyone wants the same thing, and yet they can’t seem to achieve it together?

The most common answer to the question is that someone else is always messing things up. I’m not sure who that might be since everyone wants the same thing, but there’s always someone else. Perhaps it’s time for everyone to examine his or her contribution to the problem.

The solution is well within their control. They all simply need to do what they want from everyone else.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.