Create a Supportive Environment These Six Ways

Joe Weinlick
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A supportive work environment is essential to retaining quality employees and keeping productivity high. In a supportive culture, workers feel safe and valued, and this makes them want to contribute to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, many managers fall short in this area, either by focusing too much on control or by taking an overly hands-off approach. Try these tips to develop a better management style that supports your workforce.

1. Cultivate Compassion

In a supportive work environment, employees are treated like people, not resources. Don't be afraid to show compassion and even affection for your staff. When setbacks occur, meet them with empathy and concern as opposed to anger or disappointment. Focus on creating connections and fostering a family-like atmosphere where employees are excited to be part of your department.

2. Create a Fear-Free Workplace

Fear causes stress, anxiety and a general air of uncertainty. These negative emotions reduce productivity and can breed feelings of resentment in the long term. Remove fear from the equation by responding to problems and mistakes in a fair and supportive manner. Encourage employees to take risks and help them work through problems.

3. Show Trust

When you have trust in your employees' abilities, they are more likely to feel competent and do their best work. Give employees space to develop their own ways of doing things. Be willing to learn from your staff while still being available to offer help when it is requested.

4. Practice Transparency

Being honest is another way to build trust and connection with your staff. Avoid offering half-truths in difficult situations, and let your word have value. When you are completely honest, it encourages your team to reciprocate. This helps you make better management decisions to everyone's benefit.

5. Celebrate Success

Many managers focus on reward systems to drive employee productivity, but to build a supportive work environment, you need to focus more one celebrating the successes of your team. Offer personal verbal congratulations for jobs well done, and follow up with an email confirmation of your appreciation. These affirmations increase the positive atmosphere in your workplace, encouraging everyone to work harder to meet goals.

6. Prioritize Work-Life Balance

All workers have needs outside of meeting work goals. Show workers that you understand those needs by offering flexibility to accommodate them. For example, whenever possible, let workers have time off to attend school events or offer working-from-home options when children are sick. In a supportive work environment, managers acknowledge employees' lives outside of the office and see them as well-rounded individuals who are active in many spheres.

Build a supportive work environment by helping with work-life balance, celebrating your team's successes, removing fear and developing trust. A supportive work environment fosters a confident and competent workforce that is ready and able to succeed. Supported workers are more likely to do their best and to remain loyal to your organization.

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