“Influence is something everyone can do. The people you spend most of your time with will influence you the most. It stands to reason if association influences, then you are an influencer by virtue of your association with others.” – Karl Rohde
In the small town where I grew up, high school basketball was king. The community supported the home team with a vengeance. There were, as is always the case, some second and third string players who rarely got on the court. One of those little-used players made one game stand out in my mind. Several star team members fouled out and a replacement, Darren, was put in who had not played over 10 minutes the past two seasons. People on the sidelines groaned—what was the coach thinking? Not seeming to notice the crowd’s reaction, Darren went into the game with energy and enthusiasm. His court chatter and presence was so positive that you could see the wilting team and fans take heart. He only played a few minutes, and never scored, but the team was revitalized by him.
Lots of advice has been given to management and owners about how to create a healthy company culture, and how to spread the institutional mission and vision. But what about the vast army of second string players—who are important members of the team, but aren’t the stars? How can we/they impact the culture of the workplace?
Here are six simple, practical ideas that are easy to implement on a personal level. Hopefully, these ideas can help make the workplace a better place to work.
- Be present. It’s easy to be at work without being fully engaged. That’s one of the reasons corporate culture has been deemed so important—it is seen as a way to engage and empower employees. The reality is that all motivation is self-motivation; so there is no point in waiting for the boss to hand out a lovely gift-wrapped package of engagement. Permission isn’t needed to jump into the game.
- Be enthusiastic. People who are present and negative don’t build the culture.
- Be loyal. Not blindly loyal, marching mindlessly wherever the leader goes, but respectfully, wholeheartedly supporting the best aspects of the business, co-workers and managers. Being loyal includes minimizing inter-office gossip and backbiting. The factors to determine whether something should be repeated are: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
- Show appreciation. Notice what others are doing that has a positive impact and thank them. Pay a compliment for a job well done, mention it in a meeting, write a note or plan a mini-celebration.
- Be polite. Even if the other person is rude. Even if it’s been a bad day. Even if you’re right and they’re wrong. Courtesy is the oil in the gears of social interaction. If nothing else, it feels better to be polite than to be snide.
- Smile more. (I said the suggestions are simplistic, right?) Smiling makes people on both sides of the gesture feel better.
When it comes right down to it, we can only change ourselves. So let’s give ourselves the best chance to succeed and see if our influence spreads.
P.S. Have you ever seen one person’s actions positively change a workplace?
The opening quotation is from the link below, and the article is well-worth reading. http://worklikeanartist.com/blog/how-to-build-workplace-culture