The pressure employees feel to perform in a high-stress job in New York can result in hostile work environments that ultimately don’t do anyone (employees, managers and shareholders alike) any good at all. To create the most effective organization you can build, here are four of the best practices I’ve gleaned from my executive clients who’ve rated in the top 1% of their peers with some of the largest names on Wall Street and Madison Avenue.
Train managers to implement a no-blame culture
Assigning blame to individuals for the failure of a group-based initiative can lead to mistrust, anger and secrecy within the ranks of an organization. Employees absolutely hate it when a boss or superior officer finds it necessary to turn somebody into a scapegoat for a missed deliverable, unhappy client or unsuccessful project. It’s OK to encourage accountability but that means culpability coming from an employee, not an external agent throwing accusatory bombs. There is a big difference. The best teams operate where blame is a four-letter word and mistakes are considered teaching opportunities; developing a culture where this can happen must come from well-trained managers.
Celebrate successes large and small
It’s certainly wonderful to crack open a celebratory bottle of wine to recognize the completion of the billion dollar merger your team just completed, but in a lot of ways recognizing the little wins here and there can be just as important. Highlighting select achievements that may not carry the same gravitas may seem like a politically correct waste of time, but to a person who carries out a company’s grunt work, knowing that he might garner even a bit of attention can keep him motivated.
Rationalize every internal report your group creates
Unnecessary and duplicative reports are everywhere in metrics-obsessed corporate America. Outside of a final P&L summary report, are other reports really all that important? Sure it might be nice to know the nitty-gritty details of every single T&E expense in the third quarter year-to-date, but do you have to do it on a daily basis? Maybe not. Test out how useful the reports your team creates by not producing it for a few weeks and see who complains. If no one complains (usually the case) then stop doing it! Your employees are better off spending their time doing other things for you and the company.
Encourage people to eat lunch together, outside the office
It’s ironic that the professional service industries that stand the most to gain from encouraging camaraderie in the office are the industries where nearly every employee feels compelled to eat lunch alone – at his or her desk. Why not encourage your team members to eat lunch together, away from the office for 45 minutes where they can develop real human relationships that will pay off in increased cooperation and communication later? You are also giving your employees the opportunity to rejuvenate their minds as well as the bodies that are kept in an unnatural seated position 10-14 hours a day.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.