Want to be happier at work and help your team find greater joy in the workplace? The journey to loving your work doesn’t magically happen, but if you make an effort to get there, you will. Here are three steps you can take right now that will get you started.
Step 1 — Build and strengthen positive work relationships
Strengthening work relationships can improve your motivation, productivity, and overall satisfaction at work. You can start by taking time to recognize the contributions of your team.
It’s frustrating to give a project your all, only to be met with indifference. Recognition makes your effort feel worthwhile. Celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of your team members is mutually rewarding and satisfying. It can also help to strengthen your relationships.
Strong relationships are especially helpful when things aren’t going so well, and the bonds are further strengthened when you support one another through challenges in both your personal and work lives.
Pay attention to others and offer your encouragement and support. The return on that investment will always be positive.
Step 2 — Improve communication
It’s hard to build relationships without communication skills. That’s why improving communication is the next step toward loving your work.
You can start by spending less time focusing on what’s wrong and more time communicating what’s right. Being honest and genuine in your communications helps build trust, but there’s a big difference between being honest, and being abrasive.
Have you heard of the “sandwich method” of giving feedback? This method involves giving two positive comments to one negative piece of feedback. Using this method helps to avoid the problem of negativity overshadowing all the good that’s going on in your workplace.
While you’re at it, work on timing. For example, show your appreciation immediately when you notice someone going the extra mile. It will have way more impact in the moment.
Finally, incorporate more collaborative projects if possible. When you’re working towards a common goal, there’s a greater incentive to communicate effectively.
When your messages are heard, and when you understand the messages sent your way, there will be fewer misunderstandings, and greater opportunities to succeed as a team.
Step 3 –Appreciate and recognize the myriad contributions of your team
You can use positive comments to inspire change. Have you ever felt discouraged by a colleague’s negative comments? Did you feel inspired to change, or merely hurt, or resentful? In contrast, think about the most recent piece of overtly positive feedback you’ve received. Did you feel inspired to do more — to take it to the next level?
Imagine how much more you’d love your work if you had positive work relationships, communicated better with others, and actively encouraged and supported your coworkers. You’ll be leading by example, and your actions are likely to rub off on others. They’ll start encouraging and supporting you, too. Who wouldn’t want that?
Anyone, from the top down, can benefit from building positive work relationships, improving communication, and appreciating fellow team members. You don’t need to form a committee or ask to get started, but if management is on board for an initiative like this, even better.
So, start your journey. Walk these three steps, and encourage others to join you. You’ll be well on your way to loving your work.
Three Fingers by Philip McMaster
Happy Work illustration by GG