How to Build a Positive Work Culture in Three Steps

by Chelsea W., Communications Committee

If you’re looking to have your team work more efficiently and effectively, look no further than the culture in the workplace. Culture is an important part of what brings people to a business and, more importantly, what keeps them there. And culture isn’t something that has to be changed from the top down! You could be a mid-level supervisor or a new employee and still effect the positive change you want. Building a strong team culture in your office comes down to this:

Be the change you wish to see

It’s a fact that someone is less likely to do what you say if they see you turn around and do the opposite. No matter where you are in an organization, embody the culture of teamwork that you want to see in your coworkers. If you’re a new employee, be supportive and encouraging of your colleagues and their projects. If you participated in a successful team building activity in your prior job, take the initiative and talk to your supervisor about organizing it, or something similar, with your new group. As a supervisor you already may walk the walk and talk the talk, so take it up a notch. Look for opportunities to hone your leadership skills so that you can find a way to excite and engage the many personalities you’ll undoubtedly come across. Developing soft skills can help you learn to connect with the most difficult-to-reach employees and keep your team culture positive in challenging circumstances.

We rise by lifting others

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and taking the time to recognize the value of everyone is a great way to build a foundation of respect and support in your office. If you’re a new employee who is seeking help understanding a part of the project, look for people who have worked on similar projects to ask their advice. Thank them for taking their time and for sharing their knowledge.
If you’re a supervisor or team lead, then identify those strengths within your own employees and capitalize. Not only will people feel good about doing work that they excel at, but they will know that you’re paying attention to them and what they contribute to the team. Additionally, as a supervisor you can show your team that you value them by helping them grow in their weaker areas. Provide opportunities for professional and personal development and celebrate successes. Appreciated employees are happier and work harder.

There is no I in TEAM

The whole point of developing a strong team culture is to foster the successful collaborations that create the best end results. It’s often the case in teams that not everyone can be the star of the show. The key to a successful team culture is everyone knowing that their contribution, no matter how big or small, is important. As a leader, it’s your job to continually bring everyone back to goal-oriented thinking. Once people feel ownership of the end result and how they fit into the big picture, you’ll be on your way to developing the strong team culture you’ve been working toward. As someone new to the group, you can be an example of what a team player looks like. Working hard on any task you’re assigned and offering to help others when you have down time will make you stand out in a sea of employees. Knowing how good it feels to be on the receiving end of support and positivity is a great motivator for your coworkers to seek out opportunities to help others.

Culture in the office doesn’t change overnight. But, by taking small steps in the right direction, you’ll reach your goal of building a strong team culture that fosters effective and efficient collaboration in the workplace.

Chelsea Wilhite is a new Metro Edge member and a part of the Communications Committee. She helps to spread the word to YP's about the skills and knowledge learned through EDGE.