Performance and Morale
It is well known that attitude is contagious and impacts the environment around us, yet the environment we work in is directly related to our productivity. Not only that, but work environment has been shown to be almost as important to employees as pay.
An environment full of praise and encouragement will clearly motivate employees more than environment of oppression and criticism. The ideal workplace is a place where employees are:
- Greeted in a positive way at the start of each workday.
- Supported in a team environment.
- Encouraged to do their best.
Conversely, when employees work in an environment that is demotivating, they are not likely to do their best. They are likely to want to leave that environment physically, and will certainly leave it mentally.
An environment that is less than ideal is a place where employees:
- Feel they are exposed to anger from managers or co-workers.
- Feel a critical eye is always upon them.
- Feel threatened by managers or co-workers.
- Do not feel supported.
- Do not feel that they can do their best work.
Types of Environments
When these personality traits are allowed to get out of hand, they create negative environments. The environment affected by a negative personality can affect the morale and productivity of the other workers.
The Oppressive Environment
An oppressive environment results when a person uses his or her authority, whether granted or perceived, to restrict the freedom of other workers. Oppressive environments can include the following:
- A micromanaging supervisor who does not trust people to do things correctly.
- A supervisor who dictates the actions of his or her employees.
- Critical people who constantly barrage others with criticism of work or personal traits.
- Leadership that attempts to control the speech or even the thoughts of the employees.
- An employee who discounts the concerns of his or her staff or co-workers.
Negative environments are evident immediately and are created by unhappy people who:
- Complain about the workload.
- Complain about customers.
- Complain about office surroundings and equipment, such as the copier machine.
Negative environment can also be marked by:
- A distinct lack of smiles or other positive expressions.
- Low employee interaction.
People in a negative environment are often victims of their own choosing. As difficult as it may be to maintain a positive attitude, negative people make a choice to be negative and to allow other negative people to influence them.
The Untrusting Environment
The untrusting environment is an environment in which there is compromised trust between peers or between staff and supervisors.
Managers may not trust a staff member if that person is undependable or erratic, but many untrusting environments result from authoritarian supervisors who:
- Do not trust their own staff to do the work delegated to them.
- Repeatedly break promises.
- Do not defend or protect their staff.
- Show obvious preference for one staff member over others.
A lack of trust can take place in peer relationships as well. Co-workers who contribute to an untrusting environment may:
- Take credit for other people's work.
- Manipulate situations to their favor.
- Manipulate situations to the other person's detriment.
- Speak detrimentally about co-workers.
The Overly Competitive Environment
Competition can motivate individuals in certain environments, but, in some highly competitive environments, the playing field isn't clearly communicated or kept fair.
When an environment becomes overly competitive, individuals may feel desperate to succeed, pushing them to undermine others or manipulates situations, causing productivity to decrease along with morale.
The Leaderless Environment
Unproductive environments result when the authority structure is confused. When management does not take a leadership role, the direction their team should take becomes vague.
In an unproductive environment:
- Supervisors hand over undue authority to their staff members.
- Staff members make their own rules.
- Little cohesiveness is found in processes between positions or departments.
- Vertical and horizontal communication is weak.
- There is no accountability for inappropriate behavior.