How To Build a Positive Team Culture

The best answer to how to build a positive team culture is understanding the dynamics of positivity, negativity, and their impact on our psyche.

How To Build a Positive Team Culture? Nix the negativity!

You’ve got to accentuate the negative…Eliminate the positive…And latch on to the negative…Don’t mess with Mister In-Between…. 

Yikes! Thank goodness American lyricist Johnny Mercer NEVER sang that! If he had, his career probably would’ve gone belly up pretty quickly!

At the risk of citing the obvious, negative leadership is well, negative. It’s toxic. It thrives on and generates fear, intimidation, and demoralization. Negative leadership demeans, devalues, discourages. It’s draining. Damaging. But for a lot of executives with their eyes on the prize, they see their underlings as “obstacles” which translates to “obstructions to tackle, subdue, and get out of their way.”

Managers who are more aware of where they want to go than they are of their “present moment behavior” can practice negative leadership without realizing it. And, of course, in a climate of fear where no one dares speak up, the manager can continue this poisonous leadership style unchallenged.

How To Build a Positive Team Culture? Embrace mistakes!

In his book The Light in the Heart,  inspirational author Roy T. Bennett encourages us to “Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.”

Failure should not be fatal. Recognizing a mistake as a teachable moment benefits both the manager and the employee. The manager can learn more about his employee and how to bolster his professional development. Better yet—both of them can become more self-aware!

How To Build a Positive Team Culture? Become more self-aware!

Forgive me for stating the obvious again, but you can’t fix what’s wrong if you’re not aware of what you’re doing in the first place. In a positive team culture, the goal is to identify your faults and turn them into growth opportunities. Shame, blame, and persecution magnify flaws. Acceptance, support, and encouragement magnify improvements! 

One of the safest journeys to self-awareness is DiSC. The acronym stands for Dominant, Influential, Steadiness, and Conscientious—4 personality types we all share. DiSC is an invaluable personality discovery tool that can make you understand who you really are and why you do what you do.

It can help you accept yourself just as you are [DiSC is a shame-free zone]! Pretty soon, you’ll begin to recognize your strengths and celebrate them and you’ll identify your weaknesses and learn how to become your best self.

How To Build a Positive Team Culture? Practice what you preach!

Toxic leaders bark orders, kick butts, and take names! They carry a big stick and throw their weight around to throw everyone else off balance. Their mantra: “Do what I tell you to do; what I do is none of your business!”

A hallmark of positive leadership is vision-casting and participation. That is, once the vision of the mission is shared with the team, the leader participates in its fulfillment. He doesn’t just lead the team, he becomes a committed member of the team. Positive leaders are not too insecure to get their hands dirty in order to get the job done.

Why? Because modeling is one of the keys to success in positive leadership. This leadership style models the steps needed to fulfill the vision they’ve cast. These managers don’t just tell, they show! Followers don’t have to stumble around blindly trying to figure out what the boss wants and how to do it. Their leaders become the change they want to see and staffers are happy to follow in their footsteps.

How To Build a Positive Team Culture? Build relationships!

In 1921, a Norwegian zoologist watched chickens establish and maintain their dominance among the flock by pecking the others into submission. Ruffled feathers and bloody feet dictated who ruled the roost. Hence the term “pecking order.” 

In many corporate offices around the country, establishing the pecking order involves equally foul play—forgive the pun—but it doesn’t have to be so horrific. Hierarchies should not be caste systems!

According to Frank P. Saladis, who is an internationally recognized expert in project management and leadership, “Positive leadership is about establishing relationships, understanding other points of view, not always having the answer (or pretending to have the right answer), and creating an environment of creativity and innovation. The truly effective and positive leader is an observer, a mentor, a change agent, and someone who enables others to succeed.”

Managers who model a positive leadership style get to know their employees as people. They don’t fight to maintain their place on the corporate ladder. These executives know how to set healthy professional boundaries without building up psychological or emotional walls to “keep others in their place.”  

Positive leaders are comfortable in their own skin, secure in their jobs, and aren’t threatened by ambitious subordinates. On the contrary, they support each employee’s desire to rise as far as they want to. These leaders understand that when their subordinates look good it reflects on their leadership as well.