This week, I began a brand new journey, with a brand new job in a brand new city (the city has been around for some time but it’s new to me!). Instantly, I felt welcomed, important, and like I belonged. This isn’t always the case when you start a new job, so today, I wish to talk about what my new employers did so very well in my first week in creating such a positive work culture.
EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT
In the world of community soccer, I have sometimes felt a lack of respect, a lack of value and like I wasn’t trusted to perform my role. Whether it was because of my age, or simply the control and power those above me wanted to exude, I’m not sure. But that’s the way I’ve almost always felt. A positive work culture is one where everyone feels important. It’s a work culture where no one is just given the dog’s homework, but meaningful tasks that can actually contribute to the growth and wellbeing of the organization. That’s how I felt from the moment I walked through the door. Like I was important to the organization, and like I was going to be doing tasks that were beneficial to the success and growth of our community. I also got the sense that everyone around me felt important in their roles too. Not only did everyone seem like they felt important, but everyone seemed like they enjoyed working for the organization, and enjoyed working with the people around them. Now that’s a positive work culture.
Importantly in this quest for importance, they made active strides within the first week to ensure I felt that belonging, cautiously asking if I was okay discussing certain topics or assessing my comfort levels with various work tasks. As a result, I felt comfortable with them right away. I felt like I could have a joke with them, or even tease them…and these are people I’ve known for less than a week! But that kind of culture only comes from mutual trust, mutual respect, and the direct attempts from those in power to instill that environment. If a leader makes no attempt to care for each and every single one of their employees, that sense of belonging will be far harder to come by.
POSITIVITY & FUN
Recently, I wrote about why positivity and fun are such crucial aspects to leadership. One of the main reasons why, is that these two things do wonders in inspiring a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. They are key to intrinsic motivation, and performance in a variety of settings. Right from the off, I felt like my work environment was one of both positivity and fun. Everyone was supportive toward each other, everyone had a positive attitude, and you could tell there was a shared purpose…a shared vision for how employees wanted to conduct business. And not only that, but why that vision was in place, and who they were striving to serve within that. I could tell that everyone at the organization buys into this shared vision of making an impact in the lives of kids in the community, and it was easy for me to also buy into this vision given my background in community sports and passion for community development. A perfect fit, and one that seamlessly allowed me to feel comfortable right away.
In creating this positive and fun atmosphere, you could also feel the passion of everyone to achieve the organization’s goals and model for effectiveness. The office was full of creative and innovative personalities, and also people who wanted to do something as simple as make the office more fun through Halloween decorations (it’s early September).
In previous jobs that I’ve had, people (and specifically leaders) often get bogged down in a heaping negative cloud of everything that could be done differently, and everything that’s going wrong for the organization. There are always cries of this complaint or that complaint, or this thing that’s not working, or this employee that’s not pulling their weight…There was none of that. And that’s great, because that kind of atmosphere inherently creates a negative work culture. It’s good to be reflective and recognize what can improve, but sometimes leaders take it too far, and make everything about the negatives rather than the positives. A positive work culture is one that inspires positivity…simple as that.
So if you want to instill a positive work culture, focus on building positivity, making the atmosphere fun, and ensuring everyone at the organization feels valued and important! Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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