Think about your company’s next big initiative, and who you’d want on the team to lead the charge. Do you want the team members who are really excited about the project and are confident they’re going to succeed? Or do you want the team members who believe the initiative is a waste of time and just want to finish it up and get it over with?

Team members with a more positive mindset will go above and beyond in the project, display more creativity, and invest more in the outcome than those with a more negative attitude. This, in turn, will lead to more increased employee performance and better business outcomes.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to encourage a more positive mindset at work.

  1. Build a culture of recognition. Positivity can be contagious. Build a culture of recognition in which all team members are encouraged to actively recognize one another’s contributions. Get this rolling by encouraging managers to recognize team members one-on-one and during meetings, and to create space for their team members to do the same. For instance, they might open meetings by asking their team, “Who do you want to recognize for their work this week?” You might also consider company-wide Slack channels dedicated to recognition, or even a physical “Praise Wall” in your office space where team members can post ‘thank yous’ and shout-outs for their colleagues.
  2. Support mental well-being. Mental well-being is an important precursor to a positive mindset at work. Choose a healthcare plan that includes mental health benefits, and make sure team members have scheduling flexibility to be able to use those benefits. Consider subscribing to a meditation and mindfulness app that team members can use to create positive daily habits, or bring someone in to lead a meditation and mindfulness practice on a regular basis. If you have an open floor plan workspace, set aside a room or quiet corner where team members can go to recharge. Finally, train your managers to recognize stress and burnout in their team members, and enable them to provide support through company-sponsored benefits—including time off.
  3. Encourage physical well-being. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can increase happiness and positivity. Encourage your team to get in some physical activity in the ways that work best for them. For instance, offer a “gym reimbursement” benefit that includes things like workout apps, ski resort season passes, or home workout equipment. Organize a lunchtime walking club, or invite a yoga instructor to lead in-person or online classes once a week. Or suggest “walking meetings,” where team members can get away from their desks while they check-in with one another—even if they’re working remotely.
  4. Improve work-life balance. Challenges in team members’ personal lives can affect their mindset at work. Give team members what they need to maintain work-life balance. For example, remote work options can eliminate commute time, while flex hours allow team members to take time they need for family, personal appointments, or rest. Your leadership team should lead by example, taking the time they need to manage their personal lives, and encouraging others to do the same.
  5. Promote open communication. Give your team members an outlet to express feedback and challenges, and always do your best to address them. For example, a team member should feel comfortable going to their manager if they can’t meet a deadline or need more help on a project. Rather than allowing them to stress or feel like they failed—negative emotions—this can help them feel supported, eliciting a more positive mindset. Similarly, address negative feedback you receive from team members to improve their overall employee experience and help them stay positive. For instance, if an employee shares that they don’t think they’re getting the same development opportunities as their colleagues, work with their manager to create a plan that all parties are happy with.
  6. Plan fun team events. Giving team members something fun to look forward to can create a better employee experience, and encourage a more positive mindset. This could be something small you do each week, like a 4:00pm office happy hour on Fridays. Or it might be a team outing, like an escape room or go-cart racing. Even remote teams can plan fun, virtual employee events like an online game night or regional meetup.

Final thoughts on encouraging a more positive mindset at work

Positivity encourages more positivity, so look for every opportunity you can find to create a more positive work environment. Gathering employee feedback is a great place to start. Learn what your team members need to be happy at work, and make reasonable adjustments. Even the simple act of listening to your team can help create a more positive work environment.

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