No matter which industry your company operates in, the interpersonal environment of your workplace can be a key factor that supports productivity and high staff retention levels. A number of strategies can be used to foster a positive workplace, where a spirit of co-operation motivates and inspires your entire team.
Why the interpersonal environment of your workplace matters
Human beings are sociable by nature, and people want to be part of an environment where relationships are positive. When it comes to the workplace, companies can reap rewards by fostering a harmonious interpersonal environment.
All employees like to enjoy healthy professional relationships, and workplaces that encourage teamwork, open communication and a sense of trust and respect, can enjoy high levels of productivity. Positive interpersonal environments also create a more pleasant office atmosphere, and this can support high staff retention rates.
Show respect for your team
Demonstrating respect for employees is a key starting point to fostering an inclusive interpersonal environment.
By maintaining a courteous, respectful approach to all team members – no matter how junior, you will be sending a powerful message that each person is valued. Taking the time to openly display gratitude when employees have put in a big effort, shows that you care about your staff and appreciate their efforts.
It also helps to be prepared to listen to any suggestions or ideas your employees may have. Not only could their ideas turn out to be valuable innovations, simply taking the time to hear out your employees reinforces the view that everyone’s opinions are worth equal air time.
Don’t let office gossip ruin team spirit
Workplace gossip can undermine even the healthiest interpersonal environment, and create a toxic atmosphere that harms both morale and productivity.
As a leader it is important to avoid becoming engaged in office gossip. Make it clear to employees that gossip won’t be tolerated, and encourage staff who may have an issue with another team member to speak to you about it in private rather than spreading rumours.
Make a habit of speaking positively about each team member among other employees. It can reinforce positive behavior among your staff.
Encourage open communication
A healthy interpersonal environment calls for employees to get along well, and this can be nurtured by taking an inclusive approach backed by open lines of communication.
In particular, think about how – and what – you communicate. If employees feel there is a culture of secrecy they may be less comfortable discussing work-related issues with their colleagues, and this can stifle creative thinking.
Aim to keep your team informed on issues such as workplace targets, new innovations and upcoming projects. Similarly, when challenges arise, explain the problem to your team and encourage solutions through a group approach. This can confirm to your staff that by working as a team, they can achieve far more than by focusing on individual efforts.
Creating a pleasant and productive interpersonal environment doesn’t always happen overnight. But through respect, team spirit and open lines of communication you can help to create a workplace where everyone is confident, comfortable and eager to deliver their best efforts.