It’s human nature to focus on the negative, but as a nurse leader, your employees and your patients may notice if you tend to inject the work environment with negative energy. A leader’s positive or negative attitude can impact the entire organization. If your focus seems to be chronically more negative, many employees may be challenged to find the positive in the organization. This can create an expensive cycle of poor morale, low productivity, and high turnover.
Instead of focusing on everything that needs improvement, consider highlighting positive achievements. Taking the time to appreciate small steps toward success may result in a more positive and productive work environment. If you’re always singing the same song about what your employees did wrong, some will change the channel, or tune you out. This can result in discontent. These dissatisfied employees may continue to work as they look for their next position, but they’re no longer committed to your organization.
Positivity and Productivity
Maintaining positivity may seem especially challenging while working in healthcare. Nurses often work in a chaotic environment with long hours and intense pressure. While healthcare is continuously changing, and many leaders are pressured to do more with less, one way that may increase productivity with little impact on the budget is through nurturing positivity.
Leaders are always looking for ways for their organization to be more productive. The challenge is getting the entire team to take the steps to be more productive. If productivity isn’t at the desired level, often the leader’s first reaction is to become stricter. While enforcing guidelines and communicating goals for productivity is a good thing, this isn’t always beneficial ongoing. Imposing standards that may be too high can make you, and your staff, become unhappy or dissatisfied with the work environment when these goals aren’t met. Continuous focus on the negative can leave employees with less desire to make positive efforts with the many things that are done right each day.
The Effects of Negativity
People usually accomplish more in a positive environment. The key is often in how effectively goals are communicated. A constant push without pausing to measure positive progress can become demoralizing. Staff may become dissatisfied and begin to think success is not achievable and stop trying. This disengagement can become costly to the organization with increased absenteeism, turnover, and the potential for accidents or errors. Chronic negativity can impact productivity by:
- Increasing absenteeism: Increase in absents can result in inadequate staffing or overtime
- Decrease teamwork: Creating a culture that nurtures blame reduces teamwork
- Low motivation: Feelings of inadequacy which may result in employees not working to their potential
Measure Positive Progress
Positivity may benefit both the employee and the organization. If employees are excited to be part of a workplace that nurtures positivity they may exceed expectations and increase everyone’s productivity. Other potential effects of a positive work environment include:
- Increased collaboration: Knowing that honesty isn’t met with negative repercussions can encourage employees to share ideas and opinions, and offer fresh perspectives
- A supportive culture: Showing gratitude may do more than encourage current employees, it may attract new employees who want to work for your organization
- Encouraging creativity: Thinking out of the box may help to solve old problems and increase efficiency
- Breeds happiness: Which can help in developing trusting relationships
How to Nurture Positivity
Creating a positive work environment encourages employees to feel as if they matter as an individual, and that they’re making an impact on the progress of the organization’s goals. This may help them gain satisfaction in knowing that what they do each day matters.
That doesn’t mean high standards must be compromised. To improve employee performance, it requires more than telling employees what they’re not doing well. It needs a clear goal, a genuine desire to help them achieve that goal, and positive feedback targeting a specific behavior, or task, that they’re doing well. Telling an employee what they do well lets them know what they don’t need to work on. This may increase their motivation to work on what needs improvement. Other ways leaders can nurture positivity include:
- Own your emotional reactions and be judicious about selectively expressing dissatisfaction. A leader’s discontent carries more weight and can confuse employees into thinking you’re finding fault with them, and not the situation.
- Let your team know what you value in them individually, and that you don’t take what they do each day for granted. Shiftwizard software offers features that make employee engagement, and encouraging teamwork,
- Avoid making assumptions. Communicate standards before, not after, they’ve missed your expectations. Be honest about what your expectations are based on to set employees up for success.
A Positive Work Environment
As a nurse leader, there are some things you can’t change, or control, in the work environment. The attitude that you share with your employees doesn’t have to be one of them. Spend more time focusing on the positive, rather than automatically focusing on the problems. This may provide the opportunity to unlock your employees’ potential, and increase job satisfaction, which may result in a more productive work environment.