Many elements of a great TCF Culture may surprise you
There are many myths surrounding a great place to work. We often picture attractive workplaces as a lush sprawling campus with fun games, luxurious amenities; a place where employee happiness abounds. But many of these assumptions and guesses are not true.
The bottom line of a great TCF Culture:
1. Nobody is always happy
We all have a range of emotions throughout each day, and pretending we are always happy can be destructive. When we ignore negative feelings and information it causes more stress and lower engagement scores in the workplace.
- Research shows that when we are in a good mood we tend to be more creative, and even more altruistic. Our organisations are benefitting from these findings by adding employee wellness programmes for employees which are aimed at increasing employee happiness.
- Unfortunately happiness has a potential dark side too. Sometimes when are in a great mood we aren’t as careful as we should be, we can be a little more gullible and even take more chances than we should. This means a happy workplace can sometimes lead to inefficiencies and increased mistakes. So-called negative emotions (anger, embarrassment, and shame) can sometimes help increase engagement by helping us focus on serious issues which motivates change. Ignoring issues and pretending to be happy can actually lead to more conflict and stress.
An Engaged TCF Culture cannot work by pretending everything is perfect. Ignoring issues is a recipe for alienation and non-compliance.
2. Healthy conflict can lead to innovation and progress
Avoiding the “elephant in the room” leads to rumours, anxiety and increased conflict. Finding ways to manage conflict in a healthy way leads to an improved perspective, and a greater understanding of challenges. Conflict conversations lead to greater productivity as the real underlying issues can be aired, and resolved. We like to think that a workplace without disagreements would be ideal, but the research shows that teams who do not debate issues tend to have more conflict. Workplace disagreements tend to fall into two different categories:
- Relationship conflicts- clashes of personality or a difference in values. Relationship conflicts have the potential to be the most damaging when they are not handled effectively. Managing relationship conflict requires open and honest communication.
- Task conflicts- disagreements on how work should be performed. When managed well, these conflicts can be helpful in producing better decisions, and a stronger bottom line.
Open and constructive TCF debate helps reduce misunderstandings, gives employees a voice and increases buy-in.
Feedback and healthy debate helps team members avoid premature consensus and default solutions. Conflict can be uncomfortable at first, but when it leads to open dialogue it can clear up misunderstandings and provide better strategies for doing work. When we avoid disagreements in the workplace to try and maintain group harmony, we can inadvertently end up keeping issues hidden.
3. Mistakes are a learning opportunity
When learning to walk as toddlers we fell repeatedly, we made mistakes, but kept on trying. Learning from these mistakes helped us develop a new skill, we learned to walk. Unfortunately not long after we learned to walk we began to avoid failure, fearing embarrassment and often trying to appear perfect. A willingness to fail often allows us to learn more than from our successes alone. The mindset required to become a learning organisation is one that learns from mistakes, rather than one that avoids mistakes.
TCF Compliant teams recognise and learn from their mistakes.
4. Diversity leads to honesty, unique perspectives and ultimately better decisions
Employees that share similar attitudes may be more likely to get along, but too much similarity can limit performance. Similar thinking can encourage complacency. When we do things the way we’ve always done them, we end up with the same results. Innovative thinking requires us to think differently. Similar thinking patterns can also lead to overconfidence in the accuracy of our solutions, leading us to invest less effort into alternate perspectives. Uniform thinking is most effective in achieving repetitive tasks. However, innovative thinking requires a diverse team with healthy task conflict, this leads to greater innovation, creativity and knowledge sharing.
Exploring diverse viewpoints can help generate more innovative ideas and solutions.
5. We want our emotional needs fulfilled more than things
It can be easy to think that great organisations keep talented people because they lavish them with fancy rewards e.g. a rock-climbing wall (Twitter) or volleyball courts with complete with actual sand (Google). However, the research shows that as nice as these luxuries are, what we need is human experiences that fulfil our basic human connection needs. Decades of research demonstrates that we perform at our best when we feel free to make decisions, are acknowledged and feel connected to others. A great TCF workplace helps satisfy our human emotional needs and provides working conditions that help us produce our best work.
Crafting a great TCF Culture is not about producing a perfect place to work, but about creating a people-centred workplace that treats customers fairly.
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