Earlier today, I had the opportunity to introduce the first session in our “Block University” onboarding class. During the course, we share with new team members our history, mission, values, and walk through the core content of several books that have notably shaped our organization and workplace atmosphere.

Over many years, we just expected people to join and glean from the surrounding culture. In 2018, we came to the realization that culture is too critical to leave it to chance and people are too valuable to leave them guessing. Today’s first session was centered around the essence of culture. As I was sharing, rich atmospheric imagery came to mind.

Culture is like the air around us, we don’t give it much attention when it’s healthy but it’s impossible to miss when it’s toxic.

As leaders, we play a central part in establishing the workplace atmosphere (culture) around us. Leaders lay the groundwork for what’s expected, what’s rewarded, and what won’t be tolerated. Each day, we have the opportunity to create and reinforce an environment where our teams can pursue their work while breathing deeply or where people are relegated to sabotage, to claw, to hide, to compete, and play games with those they’re intended to work WITH.

Three Powerful Catalysts to Developing a Healthy Workplace Atmosphere:

We discovered and defined this list by working with the team at Block Imaging over the last decade.

1

Share Freely

In my experience, leaders hide WAY too much information from their teams. This type of info ranges from performance feedback, behaviors that move the team forward, financial metrics, impending challenges, and beyond. When we treat people like they can’t be trusted with information, it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And each and every time our organization has increased our level of transparency, our team has reciprocated with new levels of diligence, ownership, and responsibility.
2

Bring People Together

In every organization, there’s some degree of triangulation. When a leader is aware of conflict between people or teams, there are a couple of options. The first and perhaps most unhealthy is to avoid. The second is to help one or both people navigate through the situation or relationship. While this occasionally works and seems like the best move, oftentimes the situation is skirted in the process, which leads to the root of the issue not being addressed so it resurfaces in the future. The final option is to bring the people together in an attempt to get to the root. This has been immensely beneficial in our organization and helps lead people THROUGH with one another.
3

Repeat the Win

Think of that movie that you’ve seen so many times that you can repeat most of the words. That’s a perfect starting point. If you could have the team circle around a behavior, attitude, and character quality, what would they be? Perhaps honor or humility or ambition or kindness or integrity? Once you pick the word(s), find stories, pictures, and celebrate team members who exhibit these behaviors, attitudes, and qualities over and over and over again. No assumptions and no guessing. If someone were to walk in and ask a team member what you’re looking for on your team, we’re winning when these realities are immediately spoken.

Pick one and try it today. Be a little more transparent, facilitate a crucial conversation between two team members, or drive home a value, behavior, or attitude that you’d like to see multiplied in the season ahead. Create and foster a healthy culture where team members can thrive!

Josh Block

Author Josh Block

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