Positive teams accomplish far more than teams with low morale.
Have you ever been part of a highly-motivated, high-morale team?
If you have, chances are that most days you were happy coming in to work. You had fun collaborating with your colleagues, and, together, you were able to come up with some great ideas. Because of your focus and enthusiasm, you probably did some of your best work with this group.
Teams that are highly motivated and positive are not only fun to be part of, but they also accomplish far more than teams that are struggling with morale.
This is why it's so important that, as a leader, you strive to build a positive team. In this article, we'll show you how!
Research shows that positivity can make a real difference to people's success and well-being.
In one study, researchers found that happy individuals are then more successful in many areas of their lives, especially in their careers, compared with individuals who struggle with happiness and positive thinking.
Other studies show how much of an impact positivity has on people's ability to think creatively, progress their careers, cope with challenges, and work with other people. Positivity is an essential ingredient for success!
Positivity also brings longer-term benefits. Barbara Fredrickson, professor and social psychologist, created the Broaden and Build Theory to explain how positive emotions can broaden our behaviors over time. According to Fredrickson, the more positive emotions we experience, the likelier we are to exhibit other positive behaviors, such as curiosity, awareness, discovery, and creativity – all essential for successful innovation. In short, the happier we are, the more creative we are, and this is true for individuals as well as for groups.
Teams often become more positive because they have a positive leader. This is why focusing on your own happiness, well-being, and emotional intelligence is the first step in creating a great team.
Martin Seligman, a leading positive psychologist, developed the PERMA Model to highlight the five essential elements that you need in order to be happy. PERMA is an acronym that stands for:
Start by thinking about how you can increase each of these elements in your life. Spend some time reading our article on PERMA and then take action – the more of these things you can bring to your life, the happier you'll be!
Next, stop and think about the work that you do. Do you know what your strengths are? And how often do you get to use these strengths?
Our work is most satisfying when we can use our unique abilities in a way that makes a real difference to someone else, or to our organization. First, conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis to discover your strengths. Then, use the MPS Process (MPS stands for Meaning, Pleasure, and Strengths) to see how you can use your strengths to bring more meaning and pleasure to your career.
Last, work on your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a vital leadership skill, because it gives you an awareness of your own emotions, as well as for the feelings and the needs of others.
Emotionally intelligent leaders understand what their emotions are telling them, and, because of their inner strength and awareness, they don't take out their own negative emotions on their people. This is definitely a skill that you should cultivate if you want to lead a positive team!
Before you can encourage positivity in your team, you need to remove any obstacles to it. By doing this, you can ensure that your team won't start getting motivated and then run into a series of roadblocks; this start-and-stop progress is dispiriting, and it can quickly undermine your team's sense of motivation.
Herzberg's Motivator and Hygiene Factor Theory gives you a great starting point for working on motivation. Psychologist Fredrick Herzberg discovered that employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not opposites. For your team members to be satisfied in their jobs, you must first remove the causes of dissatisfaction, and then add factors that contribute to satisfaction. Both of these steps need to take place for your team members to feel truly happy in their work!
For example, are there policies in your organization that could be causing dissatisfaction for your team members? Is each person's salary competitive? Would your team members be happier if you provided cross-training opportunities, or flextime? These are just a few of the elements that could contribute to your team members' satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
The office itself is something that has the potential to destroy motivation and positivity. So, take steps to create a healthy workplace for your team. Look at the work environment; it should be comfortable, well-lit, clean, and safe. Other elements, such as life balance, employee recognition, and involvement, also play a big part in your team members' happiness (or lack thereof).
Praise your team members for the good work that they do, and ensure that everyone has a healthy balance of work and time off.
Once you've removed obstacles that could slow your team's progress, it's time to start managing your team in a positive way. There are many ways to do this.
Positivity is a habit, and the only way that you'll cultivate long-term positivity with your team is to reinforce it daily. This takes focus and self-discipline, but the benefits can be huge!
While there are countless benefits of building a positive team, one of the most significant is that people are most creative and productive when they're part of a happy, healthy group.
Positive teams are led by positive leaders, so start with yourself. Next, remove the obstacles that could have a negative influence on your team's positivity.
Manage positively by creating a mission and vision statement so that your team members know why they're there. Then, reinforce long-term positivity by building self-confidence and using affirmations.
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Morgeson, F.P., Delaney-Klinger, K., and Hemingway, M.A. (2005) 'The Importance of Job Autonomy, Cognitive Ability, and Job Related Skill for Predicting Role Breadth and Job Performance,' Journal of Applied Psychology, Volume 90, Issue 2, March 2005. (Available here.)
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., and Diener, E. (2005) 'The Benefits of Frequest Positive Effect: Does Happiness Lead to Success,' Psychological Bulletin, Volume 131, Issue 6, November 2005. (Available here.)