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Are You a Positive Leader at Work?

Learn how spreading sunshine can help you and others in the workplace.

Key points

  • Expressing gratitude and sincere praise goes a long way to improve workplace morale.
  • As a workplace leader, it's important to strive to remain patient and be forward-thinking, even during difficult periods.
  • Establishing certain rituals that ultimately become habits can help promote calm and productivity.
Binti Malu/Pexels
Binti Malu/Pexels

When I got my first corporate job, it didn’t take long for coworkers to label me as “the positive one” in meetings. In general, it takes a lot to upset me, and I always strive to look for the good in situations. So, why not take that to the workplace? At first, some openly joked about my optimistic attitude and even called me “Sally Sunshine.” Then, once they recognized that my approach was sincere, the comments stopped, and I noticed more smiles around the boardroom table.

5 ways to increase morale in the workplace

Leaders set the bar for the expected atmosphere and office climate at work. Remember that positivity breeds positivity. So, follow these easy tips to raise workplace morale.

  1. Express gratitude. When a leader expresses gratitude, she shows her employees, clients, and colleagues that she appreciates them. These words of gratitude should not be “fluff,” however. Rather, the leader should provide clear examples of why she is grateful for the person and for their contribution. By doing so, others feel valued and a greater sense of community is established.
  2. Share the credit. This keeps the leader grounded. It’s very easy for a leader to take all of the credit for jobs well done. The most effective leaders are those who recognize the work of others and help others to rise with them. A gracious leader is not self-absorbed. He takes note of those who help him and the organization. He shares this feedback sincerely and consistently, gaining loyal followers along the way.
  3. Promote a growth mindset amongst your team members. A growth mindset is a can-do attitude. Look for “wins” in failures and see each setback as an opportunity to be even better the next time. Someone with a growth mindset demonstrates resilience and grit. By bouncing back from failure, we can accomplish even more than we initially thought possible. Remind your team that we must be our own biggest cheerleaders. We should hold ourselves accountable for a successful outcome. If we are not successful, then we will go to Plan B.
  4. Be calm and level-headed. Be a supportive leader, providing reassurance that all will be okay despite uneasy circumstances. When possible, choose to react with patience and logic instead of anger and hysterics during difficult episodes.
  5. Openly praise the behavior you want to see. Let your employees know how they are making a positive difference. Is a team member consistently proactive and communicative? Thank them. Then, put that person in charge of communicating during stressful periods or emergency situations.

Important daily routines

On a personal note, establish calm and productive routines to set the stage for the day:

  • Make your bed. Something as simple as making your bed every morning means that you have one item that you always cross off your list. It is so important to accomplish tasks. By starting with something easy, we then set our daily routine of productivity in motion.
  • Consider a morning office ritual. Morning rituals help us to maintain consistency. Try to get to the office at the same time each day. For instance, many leaders like to get to the office before the rest of the team to have quiet time to get through morning emails. There is something very satisfying about sitting at your desk at the same time each morning. Take a deep breath before jumping into meetings and other work tasks.

Copyright © 2023 Amy Cooper Hakim

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