A good workplace

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.
A good environment, conversely, is one where:
  • 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.
None of these ideas are mine; they’re all stolen. But that’s the pattern that seems to emerge. I am not making any comment on my own workplace, but I think it’s interesting to think about these ideas and how they can be applied to improve any environment.
What about you? What do you think is important to create a positive working environment?
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