A Positive Workplace Starts with the Facility Manager

by Elizabeth Dukes on February 26, 2018

A healthy work environment yields many positive results. It reduces turnover and employee complaints and fosters pride in your organization, as well as increased productivity. It may sound cliche′ but a strong leader leads by example, with the positivity they emanate spreading to every member of their team. As the facilities manager, you are who the team looks to for leadership, enrichment and positivity. You are the catalyst for change and positive growth but, without the correct strategy, this may be a difficult task in which to find success.

How you go about creating this positive work environment is up to you. Careful consideration of the various personalities that you are leading and interacting with will prove to be one of the biggest keys to success. Play to individual strengths and copacetic personality types. Examine what aspects of the office setting can be improved upon, considering the input of each member of your team along the way. Ascertain not only what people feel is contributing to negativity, but also determine those aspects of the work environment that those around you feel are positive.

Once you have outlined the deficiencies that may be contributing to a negative work environment, your next task is to problem solve and modify. There are a few basic concepts that can and should be applied to every work space, fostering the well-being of all employees. Let’s take a look at a few.

  • You’ve heard that age-old saying “The buck stops here”?  Well, there is a lot of truth to that statement. How can one expect their employees to maintain a positive and productive attitude when their leader isn’t held to the same standards? Your job, as the leader, is to inspire those around you. Focus on maintaining an outwardly positive attitude. Be a solution-minded leader, rather than problem-focused. You will find that positive mindset showing up in other aspects of your work and personal life.
  • By setting goals and deadlines, you provide others with a sense of purpose and challenge. People often thrive on structured challenges and the ownership of accomplishment that will, in turn, provide them the initiative to stay the course. The success of your organization is fundamental to both you and your team members.
  • Listening to your team members and their opinions will foster strong bonds, showing them that you are not just their leader but part of the team. Get to know each member, determining their goals, strengths and desires. This gives you and them the necessary facility management tools to shine, creating meaning in what they do. While we may all have different tasks to get the job done, no one job is of greater importance than another.
  • Strengthening these relationships opens up a clear line of communication that can serve you beyond just helping each member shine. Listen to their opinions about the work environment and what changes they feel need to be implemented. We are all individuals and you may not see things just as another member might. Do they feel there is unequal treatment or opportunities amongst employees? Are achievements not recognized and addressed? Is there not enough training for each employee to succeed at their job? If one teammate feels any of these things, chances are there are others that agree. These are the kinds of things that cause resentment and negativity–aspects you definitely want to work towards correcting.
  • Lack of recognition and appreciation is one of the leading complaints amongst those in the work-force today. A little appreciation goes a long way in creating a positive work environment. Matter of fact, 67% prefer verbal praise over a cash bonus, according to a survey done by McKinsey & Company. It is human nature to respond to positive feedback. . Focus on positive feedback and constructive criticism to deliver positive results.
  • Enjoy your co-workers, making work both a fun and productive environment. Just because you are “on the job” doesn’t mean you don’t have to enjoy your time there. Get to know your teammates on a more personal level. You may even find a hidden talent in someone that can be integrated into their work. Practice random acts of kindness. See someone feeling particularly sluggish today? Bring them a cup of coffee. By going out of your way just a little bit, you ensure they know you care and consider them an important part of the team. Bring bagels for breakfast one morning–you’ll be amazed at how everyone is ready to go to work with a little food in their bellies and smiles on their faces.
  • Adopting a flexible leadership style separates the good leaders, from the exceptional leaders. Your team will be filled with various personality types, each of them responding differently to communication and management. The mark of a great leader is recognizing those personalities and taking the time to learn what is best for each one. By doing this, you show respect for others, setting yourself apart as someone people WANT to be led by and work hard for.

Facilities management is a demanding profession that requires a diverse set of facility management skills in order to be successful. The consistent professional, interpersonal and even emotional demands that FMs face on a daily basis seem to fly from all directions.

A supportive workspace environment is the first step to creating positive, productive attitudes. As the facilities manager, you will find yourself juggling many people and projects. Your strength as a leader determines how hard each person works for you and, ultimately, the success of those projects. While you cannot change the personalities of your teammates, you can provide them with the support and resources to want to be the very best they can be, from an agile work space to an interactive one with the right kind of technology.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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