8 principles to create the ideal working environment

Have you ever wondered how to create the ideal working environment? Are you a manager that wants to know what your team wants at work? Or are you an employee looking to find the right workplace? This post outlines 8 principles to create the ideal working environment so that you and your team can flourish.

How to create the ideal working environment

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, organisations need to be able to juggle competing virtues in order to create the ideal working environment. It can be a messy thing to figure out if you don’t have some guidance. That’s what this post is about, providing a quick snapshot to guide managers and workers in creating the ideal working environment.

Why would we even want to create the ideal working environment?

The answer is that employers want to get the most out of their employees, but employees want to get the most out of employers, and these competing goals can cause tension in the workplace.

So when we talk about creating the ideal working environment we are talking about meeting both employer and employee goals and objectives.

For starters, let’s look at how distorted management perception can be when it comes to the workplace. If you have a distorted perception you are not going to be able to deal with the problem at all. So the objective is to be able to see clearly so that you can make effective decisions.


Managers VS. Employees: What are employees looking for in the workplace?

I was listening to an audio series taught by a respected consultant in the American oil industry. He quoted a survey given to a multitude of companies that had their managers and employees rank from 1 to 10 (1 being the most valued) how important each workplace factor was to employees.

After ranking the workplace factors here are the results:

Employees ranked the following factors (1 being the most valued factor)

    1. Appreciation
    2. Feeling in on things
    3. Help on personal problems
    4. Job security
    5. Good wages
    6. Interesting work
    7. Promotions
    8. Management loyal to workers
    9. Good working conditions
    10. Tactful discipline


Managers ranked the following factors (1 being the most valued factor)

  1. Good wages
  2. Job security
  3. Promotions
  4. Good working conditions
  5. Interesting work
  6. Management loyal to the workers
  7. Tactful discipline
  8. Appreciation
  9. Help on personal problems
  10. Feeling in on things


What did I learn from what I just read?

The managers ranked in their bottom 3 (appreciation, help on personal problems, and feeling in on things) what the employees ranked as their top 3 factors, with appreciation being the most valued factor by employees.

This means that managers had no idea what employees were looking for in the workplace.

The distorted perception of managers can result in an inability to manage effectively. Managers can only create a positive working environment once they can recognise what employees are looking for in the workplace.

That should give managers some insight. A focus on the appreciation of work, allowing workers to feel in on what’s going on, and having some avenue to help workers with personal problems will be a big start in bridging the gap between employer and employee objectives.

But I’m passionate about this topic so let’s dig a little deeper and give you some principles that you can implement…


8 principles to create the ideal working environment

The University of Minnesota conducted a survey with over 17 million survey responses from workers and managers across 40 countries. Rob Lebow and his research team purchased the data and published a book called, A Journey into the Heroic Environment: A Personal Guide for Creating a Work Environment Built on Shared Values.

The book outlines 8 principles that all people respected throughout the world regardless of their industry, status, race, gender, religion, or education. These principles were found to not only boost employee morale but they enhanced organisation performance and success.

I’ve reviewed the 8 principles below and my comments on each of them.


1. Treat others with uncompromising truth

People hate it when there are backroom deals being made by a few exclusive members. People want to know what is really going on.

The honest truth might be hard to admit and deal with, but for all who go through the process together, especially in a business setting, it will strengthen the team in a way that rarely exists today.

Why? Because you are being real with people. You are not just playing a role, but you’re also being an honest human being.

It takes the boldness of a leader to speak the truth to co-workers. The good, the bad, the ugly, and showing not only strengths but the weaknesses.

A vulnerable leader is far more influential in working with others on their weaknesses because their own weaknesses are exposed.

Uncompromising truth is the foundation for building trust, and trust is the foundation for building relationships.

Is treating others with uncompromising truth always perfect? No. But it’s more powerful than you think and it’s the best you are going to get.


2. Lavish trust on your associates

Lavishing trust on your associates means that you empower others to do what’s in their heart to do.

You are not just arbitrarily trusting people, you are actually trusting in their desire to do good, contribute, and work for you.

After all, if you control the scope of someone’s contribution you insult their capacity to contribute and you make them a wage earner rather than a contributor.

When you lavish trust on someone you are giving them the freedom to contribute their highest potential.


3. Mentor unselfishly (and be open to being mentored by anyone)

Don’t only look to train people who are going to be a potential replacement for when a promotion takes place.

Instead, give anyone anywhere the benefit of your knowledge, skills, and attention, so that the whole culture becomes a learning community.

You don’t want mandatory ‘job training activities’, you just want a natural and helpful mentorship culture where all can grow and learn from one another.


4. Be receptive to new ideas regardless of their origin

If an idea comes from a certain group it is important that the company takes it into consideration and respects it.

Respecting people’s ideas and being receptive to new ideas is what transforms companies and helps them grow to new levels.

Suppressing ideas just because of where they came from is a sure way to stunt growth and business intelligence.


5. Take personal risks for the organisation’s sake

Taking personal risks for the organisation’s sake is about going beyond what is required and investing more than what is normally necessary.

Those who are mediocre do not possess the spirit that is necessary for excellence. When people see that you put yourself on the line for what is best, then they too will want to work to a higher standard of excellence.


6. Give credit where credit is due

Managers need to make sure that they give credit where credit is due. This recognition provides satisfaction for people, who will then feel good about their work, and therefore, are more likely to continue to contribute.

There is nothing worse than withholding credit from someone who has clearly contributed something of value. You lose respect and that will only result in lower work performance.


7. Do not touch dishonest money (be honest and ethical in all matters)

People prefer dealing honestly when it comes to work. Dishonesty undermines all activity and perceived success.

People want to work for a company where money is made the right way rather than making up a lie or ripping off the public by selling a product that doesn’t do what it says it does.

Being honest is more important than you think. It’s not just some arbitrary rule. It’s deeply connected to our psyche and there is no escaping the inner consequences of dishonesty.

If a company doesn’t get caught externally it will develop problems internally, even impacting at the deepest level, the minds of the workers themselves.


8. Put the interests of others before your own

When you put the interests of others before your own you are creating a working environment that nurtures everyone.

It also demonstrates to other people that your existence is good for them. Every time they see your face they don’t feel like they have to enter into an exchange. Instead, they feel comfortable knowing that you care about them.

In turn, many people will begin to do the same towards you.


Question: What are you dealing with in your working environment? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Also, apparently a green plant will help boost the productivity of your workplace.


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