So at the risk of degenerating into awful motivational/managerial speaking cliches, I’ve been reading a lot about what makes a good or bad workplace environment lately. These examples come from other people and books, not from me. But I find them interesting.
Here are some of the common themes that seem to come up.
A bad environment is one where:
- People don’t trust one another.
- Delegations and responsibilities are unclear
- People are defensive and pass blame
- People don’t feel they can be honest.
- People don’t feel their ideas are listened to.
- There is no consensus as to what common goals are.
- There is a lack of clarity on expectations and assessment of performance.
- There is little communication between different areas or levels of organisation.
- Goals and expectations are imposed with little or no input or buy-in.
- Areas of responsibility are clear
- People are not afraid to admit their mistakes or weaknesses.
- The focus is on going forward rather than blame.
- Everybody feels they have input and that their ideas and opinions are listened to and taken seriously (even if they are not always agreed with).
- People can raise issues and criticisms of processes (as opposed to personal attack) without fear.
- The common goals of the group or organisation, and each team or subdivision, are clear.
- Expectations and performance assessment are transparent and based on agreement and consultation.
- There is clear communication and openness between different levels and teams of the organisation.
- Because there is open communication, because team members are able to freely raise concerns, and because expectations are transparent and consultative, team members are more likely to display agency and a sense of accountability to the agreed goals.
- Greater clarity, openness and common goals create a greater sense of trust.