Just like a flower needs good nutritious soil, the right amount of water and light to grow, us human beings, in order to bloom and thrive, also need the right environment in which to do so.
If the environment is toxic, even the strongest flower can start to wilt, but knowing what’s the best environment and how to care for the flower will allow it bloom beautifully. Although different flowers may require different care, the right environment is still crucial.
Different people, teams and organisations may require different environments and establishing that can take time and commitment, but there are however a few essential things that will be a good starting place to cultivate a healthy environment.
Trust can have many facets and be seen differently by different people. For some trust might be feeling safe to share views, be open, honest and transparent. For others it might be being left to their own devices as opposed to being micromanaged. The bottom line is, if people don’t feel trusted, they won’t trust you. Trust is the foundation of successful relationships and a healthy work environment. If that foundation is not established, the relationship will lack support. It is like building a house on sand – it will not be stable, and it could collapse at any time. If you know that that’s the area you or your team needs to improve on, what one small step / change could you make to strengthen these foundations?
What does growth mean to you? A chance to develop, thrive, to feel empowered and encouraged? Utilising strengths, working on improving weaknesses, learning from constructive feedback? Opportunities to learn and grow is another important ingredient that adds to motivation and a healthy working environment. Whether it is through coaching, mentoring or training, investing time and money in people and their development and growth will increase their chances of staying with the company and their appreciation leads to increased commitment, motivation and wellbeing, which in turn leads to increased productivity.
In any organisation it’s important to have clarity of vision, purpose, goals and responsibilities. Knowing where the business, or team within a business is heading and what is expected will allow team members to move in the right direction to achieve these goals, but more importantly will also allow them to determine whether their own values and motivation are aligned with those of the business and therefore whether they are the right fit for that company. If the company and environment is right for them, they will want to deepen their roots in a place they can feel they belong, be committed, happy and productive.
Cultivating an environment and culture where one feels trusted, supported, invested in and clear on what is expected of them will improve appreciation, morale, motivation and wellbeing, but will also allow them to grow and blossom. Sometimes it can be difficult to gauge from an observer’s point of view what might be missing from the working environment to help each person thrive, and the only way you will find out the true answer is if you ask them. Even when things are working well, there is always room for improvement, and we should not become complacent to assume that everyone is happy in their environment. Often what we see on the outside, doesn’t reflect what is happening on the inside.
So, I encourage you this week to take time for yourself, for your people, for your team and have an honest conversation, ask them what one thing would improve their environment to allow them to truly flourish and then commit to putting those improvements into reality.