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Positive workplace behavior manifests in many ways, such as sharing knowledge, considering obstacles as challenges, good communication and mannerisms, maintaining excellent interpersonal relationship among team, working independently and empowered, displaying initiative and enthusiasm, focusing on intangible benefits such as relationships and values along with tangible benefits, displaying ethics and integrity at the workplace, and more.
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The Culture of Learning
Positive behavior dictates employees and employer to disseminate information and share knowledge with one another, both formally and informally. Employees apply their mind, to think and ponder, and a culture of challenging assumptions regardless of rank, respect to difference of opinion, and openness to new ideas emerge. Each employee communicates freely, openly, and sincerely with others, and provides positive reinforcement. Instead of the usual one-upmanship, competition takes the shape of adding to one’s intellectual base. Employees consider challenges as obstacles to overcome, indulge in risk taking and innovation. and consider failures and setbacks as learning opportunities. They react to failure by ascertaining the underlying reasons for failures and try to deploy steps that would prevent recurrence of such mistakes, rather than resort to vendetta or witch-hunting.
The openness and culture of learning allow individual employees to update and keep abreast in skill sets, broaden their expertise, and increase awareness. Such a learning organization is in sync with today’s knowledge based economy where knowledge and the intellectual capital that human resources bring to an enterprise is the key driver that powers the organization to greater heights.
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A crucial manifestation of positive workplace behavior is proactive behavior. Proactive behavior means taking challenges head-on, doing the right things at the right time, and considering the big picture when making taking or acting on a thing. It entails planning ahead, and identifying sources of potential problems to nip them in the bud rather than react to situations and try to solve problems after they come to pass. Employees with proactive behavior provide the organization with much needed vitality and energy to surge ahead.
Organizations that encourage employees to indulge in proactive behavior have seamless and efficient systems that transcend the limitations or bureaucracy, and result in better customer service and support. Positive workplace behavior sets standards for reinforcing actions, and employees follow the same voluntarily without prompting or cajoling.
Employees display proactive behavior when empowered. A good example is Ritz-Carlton, which provides every new associate with a 2,000 discretionary fund to solve a customer’s problem without consulting anybody, including the boss. Another good example is Southwest Airlines. The airline empowers everyone including the front line baggage check personnel to make decisions. Empowerment was for them simply a matter of using brains to make decisions. For instance, the purpose of identification being to make sure the person getting on the plane is the person with the name on the ticket, the check in counter personnel may decide the person’s identity in any possible manner should they forget to carry their ID cards. Lesser airlines insist on the procedure and shift the responsibility to supervisors, and then to managers until an exception come, if at all.
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The power of positive workplace behavior promotes due considerations given to ethics, internal equity, and organizational justice. Positive behavior ensures each employee inculcate consistency and a sense of fairness, which promotes internal equity. For instance, whenever the time to make a decision comes, the decision maker passes the possible decision through the following filters:
- fairness to all involved
- how the decision pricks the conscience of the decision maker
- whether the decision maker would welcome the news of the decision in the local newspaper
A manager applying such a filter when deciding a layoff might realize that getting rid of employees is not a solution but rather a temporary fix of a symptom, for the real problem is poor economic outlook. He then applies positive behavior to take the challenge head on by identifying ways to cut costs by all possible means and seek new opportunities in the changed scenario.
Such positive workplace relationships and experience has a direct bearing on customer satisfaction. Happy employees perform their tasks with greater vigor, motivation, and commitment, leading to happier customers. Similarly, customers identify dissatisfied employees easily by their lackadaisical attitude.
The consideration of ethics permeates to a wider pane, and ensures providing each stakeholder their due. It also promotes organizational justice wherein performance and good initiatives attract rewards, and disruptive behavior face punishment.
Organizations staffed with people who have scant regards for ethical considerations usually thrives in inequity, which in turn cause breakdown of communications, rumors and gossips, one-upmanship games where the customer becomes the least priority, bureaucratic hurdles, passing the buck with no one willing to assume responsibility, and more, all leading to a dysfunctional organization.
Positive workplace behaviors allow the employee to put in superior performance and deliver results, allowing the organization to a transform to a learning organization steeped in internal equity and fairness to all stakeholders.
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- Blanchard, Ken. "The Power of a Positive Workplace." http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/The_Power_Of_A_Positive_Workplace.html%20Retrieved%20June%2019, 2011.
- Catherine Mattice. "Successful Learning Organizations : Understand the Power of Positive Workplaces." http://noworkplacebullies.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Kirkpatrick_Article.36120227.pdf%20Retrieved%20June%2019, 2011.
- Amanda M. Ruth, Chip Crawford, Allen F. Wysocki, and Karl W. Kepner. "Creating a Positive Workplace for Your Associates." University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HR/HR01200.pdf.%20Retrieved%20June%2019, 2011.
- Youssef, Carolyn, M. & Luthans, Fred. "Positive Organizational Behavior in theWorkplace: The Impact of Hope,Optimism, and Resilience" University of Nebraska Lincoln. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1035&context=managementfacpub. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
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