Think about the best or most favorite job you have ever had. Now, also think about the worst or least favorite job you have ever had. While a number of different factors may have helped either of the jobs you just thought about get into either of those categories, odds are you liked a job you were good at and felt good about working there, while you disliked a job you were not good at or did not feel rewarded working for the company. One of the top things we can do to make our workplace safer is to find ways for staff to enjoy their work. Here’s another way to think about helping staff enjoy their work; if we can set our staff up for success, we can reduce workplace conflict.
When staff are working at a job they like, when they are successful at work, when they feel they are contributing to society as well as the company, they will be better workers. They will be happier workers. They will want less to stir things up and look for ways to cause problems. Instead, they will be helping find ways to solve problems.
If our organizations have developed a negative culture, if it is not a fun place to work, if people do not feel they are contributing to society or the organization, that is when any of us will engage in other activities, frequently conflict, to get some satisfaction out of work.
So, what can we do to help staff enjoy their work? We can set them up for success. People usually talk about setting up our students or people we support for success and how that has such a great impact on their day. The same is true of staff. We need to make sure we are setting our staff up for success (and not failure) and watch the great impact it has on their day.
Some organizations view Mandt as the program their staff use to support the people they serve (whether they are in juvenile justice, schools, behavioral health, etc.). When the concepts of Mandt are only used in our service delivery and not in the inner workings of our organizations, we send a mixed message to our frontline staff. We require them to treat people with dignity and respect, to build positive relationships, and to use healthy communication skills. When management interacts with our staff, however, they are not always treated in a similar fashion. Our phrase “In this place and with these people, I feel safe” needs to be a phrase that every person in all of our buildings should feel and experience. If staff do not feel safe because someone from management may yell at them, or dock their pay, or write them up, or terminate their employment if they are not perfect, our organizations are mistreating our own employees. This will create conflict, which makes our workplace less safe.
So, this next week, I challenge every person reading this blog to find a way to make the people around them feel safe. People will feel safe when they are being successful. Setting someone up for success is not only something that works from the top down. Aides can help their supervisors feel safe. Teachers can help their administrators feel safe. Feeling safe and less conflict go hand in hand.
Dr.Dale Shannon – Director Instructional Design