By now you have probably heard that people with positive dispositions tend to live healthier and happier lives. But did you know that teams and organizations with positive leaders also tend to be more successful? This is because people who are involved with positive teams are more likely to “buy into” the team concept, and this translates into a more committed employee who works harder and cares more for the quality of their performance. But creating this type of environment is harder than it sounds. The positive leader needs to be very intentional in their strategies and the execution of these strategies.
Creating a strong and positive culture is the first strategy leaders must focus on in order to create a positive team. Organizational culture is a pattern of shared assumptions that help guide the behaviors in an organization (Schroeder, 2010). These assumptions can’t just change at the whim of the leader. Rather, a team or organization that is struggling must be committed to change. This is called unfreezing of the culture. This is quite often seen with the firing of a coach after an unsuccessful tenure. The goal, at this point, is to hire a quality coach who can change the culture of the sports program. The actual culture is changed through cognitive restructuring. This is where the new leader implements a vision and then paints a bright future for the organization, which includes implementing values that support this vision. The leader uses a variety of strategies and tactics to solidify this vision and these values (Schein, 2004). This includes:
· Changing what the employees (teammates) pay attention to
· Having the leader teach the new values through role modeling
· Having the leader pay attention to how they react to a crisis
· Aligning organizational resources to the priorities of the organization
· Developing or changing the employees so there is buy-in to the new values
· Rewarding the behaviors that are associated with the new values, and punishing the behaviors that are counter to these values
Once you have implemented the cognitive restructuring, you will want to refreeze the new culture. This is done through reinforcing the new values and living the new culture. For a sports team this can be a relatively rapid change, because the turnover of inherited players is no longer than three or four years, and the recruiting of new people begins immediately. However, in the business or corporate world, it usually takes longer to change employees. This is why personal development programs are so important. You must change the attitude and actions of the team members so they align with the new values.
Creating a positive culture is so vitally important to the success of your team or organization. It’s not easy, but you as the leader must know exactly what you want for your organization and then intentionally change the values to align with your vision. As a positive leader you can’t come to work in a bad mood. You must find ways to inspire, encourage, and support your people. It is hard work, but the reward is an extraordinary team or organization.