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  • Warren Buchholz

BE POSITIVE: NAVIGATING THE WORKPLACE WITH POSITIVITY



Work is stressful, and the pressure it puts on us all provides added challenges in the workplace. Negativity can become rampant quickly if left unattended, and it's hard to battle negativity when it arrives. If not careful, it will affect your mind and your body.

As team lead of the art department, I've come up with several ways to provide positivity to keep our team going strong and to combat some of that negative thinking that comes with part of the job.

NOTES OF APPRECIATION

Every Thursday we have our weekly team meeting. One of the tasks we give to folks in the department is to give recognition to someone else either in the department or in the facility. The only downside to this is that the person receiving the recognition is never in the meeting, and it makes something positive go unheard. 

After our meeting, I have the person in charge of that week's recognition write a note of appreciation on a colourful piece of paper, and then I give it to that selected person. Writing a note (and not a generic e-mail) serves as a genuine approach to bring people closer together. It also, instead of verbal recognition, allows folks with social anxieties to still participate, and they can remain anonymous if need be.

The positive results: Another department was so happy with the notes that they have decided to do the same thing. The relationship between the sales and art departments have solidified, more art is being produced, and customer service has increased.

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Birthdays can be easily glossed over by giving a simple "Happy Birthday" via e-mail or verbal. Go the extra mile, though. Folks want to feel like the belong where they work. Nothing communicates involvement better than celebrating their birthday with cake and a signed card. When there's a birthday in the department, we go out and buy a cake and a card, and at that weekly meeting, we "surprise" them with this treat.

The best part of this: everyone gets cake! The second best part: it humanizes everyone in the department simply through the act of eating cake. Everyone sits around the table, and for a few minutes out of our meeting and day, we laugh and we eat.

The positive results: The department has begun working as a team to help solve each other's problems instead of the cubicle isolation from past years. Artwork production numbers have increased. 

MONTHLY AWARDS

In the department, we created something at the beginning of every month to celebrate the previous: we give out Dundie Awards (based off of the television show The Office) in specific areas like “highest grossing jobs”, “fewest errors”, “best team leader”, and “most inclusive team member”. We throw on images and quotes from the television show and present these awards to different folks every month. It may sound kitschy, but the effects of the awards have impacted how our team functions. We communicate more. We help each other out with harder projects more than we have ever done. We now bet each other to see who can do more work and reduce errors. The awards have become an event, and we can’t wait to see who receives the next.

Added bonus: Create quarterly rewards based on the monthly results and give out prizes. Healthy competition can bring positive results.


APPRECIATIVE E-MAILS

I have made it a goal to try to send out at least one positive e-mail per day. It can be in the form of appreciation, of a compliment, or of a positive comment. Sometimes it’s very hard considering the workload and various negative factors that weave in and out of our work days, but I try my best to send something out that helps the team and the office instead of something that can hinder their own way of thinking.

Some examples: "Nice job getting the numbers down today!" "Thank you for your help with this project, I appreciate your effort." "You are always such an awesome person. Thank you for that!"

I mainly do this to communicate openness to folks, that I am available at any time for any reason. I’d rather have people come to me for help than tiptoe around me. It makes the days easier to navigate when everyone is on your side.

Added bonus: Add on one positive verbal appreciation, compliment, or comment to your day. Sometimes an e-mail isn't enough to get through the day. Sometimes it's hard to articulate through e-mail. Try it verbally.

The positive results: People will want to work with you.

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