41 Ways to Improve
the Emotional Well-Being
of Your Workplace
Dr. John Weaver
Courtesy of The Healthy Thinking Initiative
Promoting an emotionally healthy workplace is good for the bottom line. Based on research done by Salvadore Maddi and Deborah Khoshaba, it is also a realistic goal. They identified four qualities that were associated with thriving even under stressful circumstances. I think of these qualities as the “Vitamin Cs” of an emotionally healthy workplace: Commitment, Challenge, Control, and Caring.
David Whyte, poet and organizational consultant says, “Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small.” The first Vitamin C of an emotionally healthy workplace is Commitment. Employees need to work for something that is larger than themselves. When an organization has an articulated purpose that contributes to making the world a better place, employees will commit time and energy to the workplace.
1. Develop a clear mission statement and post it in a public place
2. Communicate the “Big Picture” to your employees
3. Communicate your purpose to the local or national community
4. Discuss the value your organization offers to the human community
5. Stand for something important and encourage others in your workplace to do the same
6. Discuss the value your organization offers to your workers and customers
7. Make long-term outcomes more important than short-term financial benefits
8. Discuss values openly and non-judgmentally
9. Listen to the ideas of every employee
10. Take the needs of the employee as serious as the needs of the company
The Chinese character for “crisis” can be translated two ways, either as a problem or an opportunity. The powerful truth is that optimism and the willingness to persevere are even more important than intelligence or skill in success. When we foster the sense of challenge in employees we bring out the best they have to offer. The second Vitamin C fosters a challenging environment.
11. Change your language to speak of “opportunities” rather than “problems”
12. Persevere when projects are important even when the answers are elusive
13. Promote optimistic attitudes in your organization
14. Identify strengths in your employees and help them use their strengths.
15. Offer advanced training opportunities
16. Cultivate positive goal setting activity
17. Encourage continuous organizational learning
18. Reward employees willing to attempt to solve problems, even if they make mistakes along the way
19. Encourage creativity and the willingness to take risks
20. Support employees when they are working on problem resolution.
It's important to be able to choose situations in your job in order to be more effective and to use your skills, since having control reduces the stress you experience. The third Vitamin C is Control. Establishing a sense of control is a key factor in reducing stress and in increasing productivity.
21. When assigning someone responsibility for a job, make sure they also have the authority to carry it out
22. Identify what is in your control and work within your circle of influence
23. Give employees leeway in the “how” of their work as long as the task is completed well
24. Assume responsibility for your own behavior, avoid blaming others for your mistakes
25. Be flexible
26. Give workers time to plan and organize on the job
27. Ask for input from employees about the best way to do their jobs
28. Insist that everyone learn from mistakes
29. Provide employees with all the information essential to their jobs
30. Make sure employees have the material supplies they need to do the work they are asked to do.
The conclusion of Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, leaders of a Gallup poll of 80,000 managers is that people leave managers, not companies. How you treat employees makes a difference. It is the forth Vitamin C necessary for an Emotionally Healthy Workplace.
31. Appreciate employees for the work they do well
32. Acknowledge important events, i.e., the anniversary of being hired for your organization
33. Be concerned for the life outside of work of your employees
34. Highlight the strengths of each worker
35. Treat employees as individuals, not just as a member of a group
36. Treat everyone with justice, i.e., treat them in accord with what each one needs rather than treating everyone the same
37. Get to know employees as whole persons, not only for the roles they assume in the company
38. Let employees get to know you as a person, not just as a boss
39. Take special care to meet the needs of the weakest members of the organization
40. Provide opportunities for informal gatherings away from the pressures of the workday
41. Use people’s first name when you talk with them
I hope this gives you some ideas to begin to address the emotional well-being of your workplace. You can schedule a 90 minute phone or
Skype consultation with Dr. Weaver to discuss ways to apply these and other important psychological dimensions in your workplace. This
service is offered for $375. To inquire about this consultation or to receive information about training your workforce in mindfulness,
(c) Copyright 2001. All rights reserved. John Weaver. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, and may not be reprinted without express written permission of the author