You don’t have to be a CEO, manager, or a supervisor to change the climate in your workplace. According to Dr. Paul White, all of us who work in relationship to other people, whether it’s with customers, colleagues or vendors, have the ability to positively influence those around us. He describes a few ways that you can build a culture of appreciation and positivity in your workplace.
Dr. White says the first thing to do, especially in a toxic work environment, is not to engage in negative conversations.
“Don’t join in to the cynicism, the sarcasm, the complaining and grumbling, the cutting remarks, the gossip, etc., just remove yourself.”
Sometimes it’s helpful to mind our own business or walk away silently, rather than partake in the negative dialogue.
“You don’t have to put people down, but just don’t engage in that so that you are not fueling that negative energy.”
Dr. White points out that while avoiding negative conversations is important, we also need to engage with positive comments and interactions. He shares a few helpful examples,
“That can be saying ‘thanks’ to a colleague for doing something for you, with you, or for the quality job they did. But sometimes if there’s a lot of negativity going on and you’re looking for something positive to say, sometimes it’s just saying, ‘Wow, what a beautiful day it is! I just love the blue sky out there.’”
“Sometimes we’ve got to really help to turn people’s vision away from all this negativity and say, ‘Yeah, there are things to be thankful about.’ These things are mentioned in Scripture all over the place.”
It just takes one negative comment to infect an entire workplace. As Christians, we have an opportunity to change the climate at work by choosing to be positive, and encouraging others to do the same.
Dr. Paul White is a psychologist, author, speaker, and consultant who “makes work relationships work”. Dr. White is coauthor of three books, including The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People, written with Dr. Gary Chapman, and The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation.