I’m often intrigued when I hear the following comments about people:
- “You know, Janet makes a huge positive difference when she is in the room.”
- “We miss Phil … he brings so much energy to our team.”
- “There’s something so powerful about Sara’s presence.”
- “I agree that Pablo commands attention, and people want to follow him.”
The good thing is we have complete control over our attitudes and behaviors. To create a positive climate, it’s important we practice humility, openness, and respect for others.
There are many different ways to describe the climate some people possess. They have such a uniqueness about them, and their presence makes a tremendous difference to the organizations where they work.
Treating Others Equally
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work on an important company initiative, which was led by Jackie, an experienced project manager. I learned a ton by observing how she treated the rest of the team members, and we immediately knew she was on our side.
During an early meeting, Jackie made it known she was going to seek our feedback. To create an open and respectful atmosphere, she used phrases such as the following:
- “Team, we’re in this together. I wish I could tell you I have all the answers, but that is completely false. I will need to get your input, so please make sure to share what you know to help us succeed.”
- “Please know there are no individual awards for participating on this project! We’re going to succeed together or fail together. Therefore, let’s make sure to help one another as necessary. Also, make sure you are not afraid to ask for help, as this is a sign of strength, and not weakness.”
- “Before criticizing someone for work that fails to meet expectations, or for anything that goes undone, ask what you can do to help in the situation instead. For us to succeed, we must treat each other with the utmost respect. There’s no doubt humility must be front-and-center at all times.”
Jackie provided a positive environment because she understood being a great leader meant knowing when to humbly follow the ideas of her fellow team members.
Because of her leadership, our team completed the project successfully. I recall the meeting we had before the leadership team when the project success was discussed. The executives spoke highly of Jackie and her ability to successfully complete a challenging project initiative.
When it was Jackie’s turn to talk, she made the following comment …
“The success of this project was because of my team. I did my part, but it only met the expectations because we worked collectively, and the praise should be directed to the team, and only the team. Thank you!”
Clearly, there is great value in knowing how to create an open, positive atmosphere for your entire work team. Since this experience with Jackie, I’ve learned to control the climate I bring to any situation.
My advice is to walk into a room believing you know very little about what is taking place. This humble approach allows you to be receptive to ideas from others. You will know when the time comes for you to share your ideas.
To facilitate a respectful and open work environment, a successful person understands there are times when you should lead, and there are times when you should humbly follow. Becoming skilled at when to play the appropriate role will ensure you are radiating the right attitude and stance for any situation.