Create a Positive Climate Articles and Videos

When morale is low, performance suffers. When morale is high, performance can soar. Climate is about the shared perceptions and attitudes of teammates. Your team’s climate can change quickly, for better or worse, based on your actions and the actions of teammates. You can raise your team’s morale by creating a positive climate for people to work in. The result is more flexibility, creativity, and openness to new ideas. Positive emotions help people cope with stress. Teams that work in a positive climate are better able to bounce back from adversity, and then adapt and grow together because of that adversity.

See the Create a Positive Climate Competency Domain leader tasks and supporting knowledge.   

Magazine and Newsletter Articles

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Demonstrate Character with Empathy and Humility

True leaders do not build great teams through their words but through their actions. How you act will reveal your authentic character. Moral courage, honesty, empathy, and humility are the “must have” components of character for leaders. When we consider the four key ingredients to demonstrating character, we believe that moral courage and honesty earn trust. Humility and empathy show respect. These latter two are perhaps the toughest to exhibit.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Demonstrate Character with Moral Courage and Honesty

True leaders do not build great teams through their words but through their actions. How you act will reveal your authentic character. Moral courage, honesty, empathy, and humility are the “must have” components of character for leaders. Let’s take a look at the way your character emerges when you demonstrate moral courage and honesty. These two are closely linked and are directly related to winning the trust of your direct reports.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Respect Your Employees

Leaders must learn to show respect for all members of the team. Doing so is more nuanced than ever. The work environment is dynamic, an ever-changing landscape that leaders must constantly strive to master. Learning to demonstrate respect for every member of your team can make the difference between a divided, siloed, unproductive workplace, and one that moves smoothly and steadily toward the team’s objectives.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Setting proper expectations is a crucial leadership responsibility

Direct reports look to leaders not just for direction, but for redirection as well. When something goes awry with the original project plan, proper expectations for adapting to the new circumstances must be set before launching Plan A. The importance of setting the right expectations for a team cannot be overstated. In this case we’re not talking about individual expectations, but the building of a project roadmap that includes circumstance-driven alterations of the plan.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Being Authentic Earns Trust

Leaders who earn the trust of their teams are far and away the most effective at achieving the financial and human goals of the workplace. But trust has to be proactively earned. People are naturally skeptical of a new leader. One way to overcome that skepticism is by being authentic. Your team will give you their trust if you trust them to accept who you really are, and that you have their best interests at heart. 

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Reduce Workplace Stress Through Fun Activities

Allowing your team to have fun at work encourages camaraderie and builds social bonds,  creating an environment conducive for collaboration. It is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that everyone supports these stress-reducing, team-building activities. When people have fun at work, they are more productive, more likely to bond with one another, and feel a greater sense of loyalty to their employer. But creating a work environment where people have permission to smile, laugh, and relax does not just happen. The team leader must take an active role in building the fun into work. Because fun at work is only fun if everyone agrees on the ground rules. 

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Why Effective Leaders Must Master Accountability

Accountability is one of the pillars of establishing trust in the workplace. Without trust, leadership fails to take root. Leaders who understand, practice, and ‘enforce’ accountability for themselves and their team members will create the proper climate for success. Establishing accountability in the workplace represents a critical building block for successful team performance. Yet accountability is often misunderstood or, worse, misused by ineffective leaders. It can be easily confused with responsibility, when responsibility is just one component of accountability. And when it is unevenly applied among team members, morale plummets.  

RBLP Staff

The 3 Elements of Trust

As a leader, you want the people in your organization to trust you. And with good reason. In our coaching with leaders, we often see that trust is a leading indicator of whether others evaluate them positively or negatively. But how to create that trust, or perhaps more importantly, how reestablish it when you’ve lost it isn’t always that straightforward. By analyzing over 80,000 360-degree reviews, the authors found that there are three elements that predict whether a leader will be trusted by his direct reports, peers, and other colleagues. These are positive relationships, consistency, and good judgment/expertise. When a leader was above average on each of these elements, they were more likely to be trusted. RBLP discusses how both social and task trust are important on a team at all levels of management. When challenges arise trust that your team is going to get the job done and to have one another’s back is sometimes all we have.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman in Harvard Business Review

Five Ways to Develop a More Resilient and Adaptable Team

Leadership coach Anne Phey discusses how to make a more resilient and adaptable team through what she calls the 5- Ps (Purpose, Perspective, Path, People, and Professionals). She believes resilience and adaptability can positively influence many areas both in and out of the workplace. Leaders play an important role in developing the team so they are able to be more adaptable and resilient. Similar to the material taught by RBLP, Phey’s 5-Ps focus on creating a healthy and positive climate that allow for a team to truly thrive.

Anne Phey in CEO Magazine

Find Your Leadership Voice

Establishing a leadership voice is critical to your success as a leader. In this article Gurpreet Kaur lays out a six-step guide to finding your voice. An important first step , before you embark on this six-step guide, is to understand your own strengths and challenges as a leader. Self reflection will assist in developing a confident voice to lead your team. A few other key elements that can help you be successful are to define your core values and beliefs, have a clear mission and vision, be a good listener, be empathetic, adapt growth mindset, and eliminate stress as much as possible. A few of these factors are also ones you can find in the RBLP curriculum, such as: have a clear mission and vision, practice active listening, and adapt a growth mindset to name a few.

Gurpreet Kaur in Entrepreneur

The Benefits of Laughter in the Office

Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud in the office. A series of studies shows the positive impact humor can have in the workplace. For one, it can reduce stress. “When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body,” the Mayo Clinic explains. It enhances your intake of “oxygen-rich air,” increasing your brain’s release of endorphins. Laughter has also been shown to boost productivity. A group of researchers found that after watching a comedy clip, employees were 10% more productive than their counterparts. And another group of researchers found that cracking jokes at work can even make people seem more competent. So, within the bounds of decency, laughter on the whole is a good thing, and the benefits far outweigh the risks. RBLP explains that in creating a resilient team it is important to encourage “fun”. When a leader can find ways for their team to have fun they are able to open up and build a more cohesive team. Even the most serious of work environments can benefit from a little fun and laughter.

Betty-Ann Heggie in Harvard Business Review

How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams

Companies spend millions on anti-bias training each year in hopes of creating more-inclusive, innovative, and effective workforces. Studies show that well-managed diverse groups perform better, are more committed, have higher collective intelligence, and excel at making decisions and solving problems. However, bias-prevention programs do not have a good track record of working. So as a leader how can you ensure all of the voices on your team are heard? The authors have identified tools that managers can use to help with creating an inclusive work environment. It starts with leaders insisting on a diverse applicant pool when hiring, pre-commitment to objective criteria, limited referral hiring, and structured interviews around skills-based questions. They should ensure that high- and low-value work is assigned evenly and run meetings in a way that guarantees all voices are heard. In evaluating and developing people, they should clarify criteria for positive reviews and promotions, stick to those rules, and separate potential from performance and personality from skill sets. As discussed in RBLP’s lessons creating an inclusive work environment not only allows for everyone to share their ideas it creates an environment of trust and respect.

Joan C. Williams and Sky Mihaylo in Harvard Business Review

5 Ways to Create a Great Company Culture

Creating a positive climate and culture are incredibly important parts of any successful organization. In this article Stacey Williams discusses 5 ways companies can create a better culture, although these same lessons could also be applied to creating a positive climate. They discuss open communication, transparency, active listening, investing in your employees, and perks and benefits as being key areas that organizations can invest in to create a healthy and happy work culture. These are very similar lessons you can find in RBLPs Creating a Positive Climate lesson where earning trust, treating people with respect, enforcing accountability, encouraging people to have fun, demonstrating character, and managing expectations are discussed.

Stacey Williams in Entrepreneur

Your Team’s Best Shot Isn’t Your Star. It’s Your Culture

Larry Robertson, founder of Lighthouse Consulting uses a basketball metaphor to explain the importance of developing a culture that celebrates not only the stars on your team- but the team itself. Everyone loves to celebrate the player that made the winning shot, but the team around that player helped get them there. As in the RBLP framework we discuss the importance of treating people with respect and developing a culture that celebrates the teams wins does just the star player

Larry Robertson in Inc.com

4 Ways to Communicate with More Empathy

Empathic communications are even more desirable and necessary, especially as those expressions have become more virtual, including videos, social media posts, and emails. Just as each of us has varying levels of empathy, not every leader is equally empathic. During challenging times, the most effective leadership communications are ones that deliver attention, acknowledge distress, demonstrate care, and eventually take appropriate action to mitigate the situation. This article offers four touch points to focus on in your communications. Empathetic communications reflect RBLP lessons on building trust, treating people with respect, and showing genuine concern for people.

Joel Schwartzberg in Harvard Business Review

How Successful Leaders Prevent Groupthink and Create a Culture of Diverse Thinking

Author Sam Reese looks at how successful leaders can prevent Groupthink and foster a diverse and inclusive environment. This article looks at ways in which leaders can prevent team members from becoming “yes” people and how we can help them feel empowered to speak up authentically. Groupthink can leave employees feeling disempowered and uninspired. The author in this article brings up many of the topics discussed in the RBLP lessons around creating a positive climate, developing cohesion, and providing a sense of purpose through active listening, transparency, seeking input from all levels, learning from failures, and creating an open dialogue.

Sam Reese in Entrepreneur

Why Remote Work Shouldn’t Be Up for Debate

Working remotely can be a very divisive topic and one that most employers have struggled with. Some companies embrace a remote workforce, and others feel it is counterproductive. Regardless of your feelings about working remotely, some type of remote work is here to stay. In this article, the author discusses reasons why leadership should embrace remote workforces. Some of these reasons include more diversity, better work-life balance, and that it allows for people to work in ways that best suit them. This article ties into RBLP’s lessons around creating a diverse workforce and embracing change.

Joshua H. Davidson in Entrepreneur

Belonging: The No. 1 Intervention for Restoring Hope in D&I

Sydney Savion discusses how leaders need to focus on fundamental human needs to achieve systemic change in their organizations. To do this, they need to focus on the idea of nurturing the need for belonging and how that can be broken down into a “belonging credence”. This credence includes practice coaching, encouraging calculated risk-taking, forging mutual experiences, authenticating meaningful work, and clarifying purpose. This credence is complementary to many of the RBLP lessons, especially around authenticity and purpose.

Sydney Savion in CLO Media

Foster Inclusion and Belonging by Involving all of Your Employees in Company Culture Change

Fostering an inclusive work environment means creating an environment where all employees can be heard. DEI (diversity equity and inclusion) is one of the most important aspects for teams to be resilient, committed, and energized. In this article they explore ways in which you can change your company culture to embrace DEI throughout your organization. They discuss the importance of changing your actions, democratizing access to learning and development opportunities, embracing differences, enlisting managers, and how to extend meaningful opportunities to promote DEI to members of your organization. As discussed in RBLP’s lessons on Creating a Positive Climate embracing a DEI mindset will not only show your respect for your team, but will also bring you new ideas and perspectives.

Mary Abraham and Stephanie Wormington in CLO Media

4 ways to Communicate with More Empathy

The pandemic and other stressful events over the past few years have only made empathic communications even more desirable and necessary, especially as those expressions have become more virtual — including videos, social media posts, and emails. But just as each of us has varying levels of empathy, not every leader is equally empathic. So is a lack of natural empathy a showstopper when it comes to expressing and benefitting from empathic communications? No. The good news is that all leaders (even those who are not naturally empathic) can communicate messages of empathy as powerfully as they convey messages of unity and accountability. During challenging times, the most effective leadership communications are ones that deliver attention, acknowledge distress, demonstrate care, and — not necessarily at first, but eventually — take appropriate action to mitigate the situation or at least provide comfort. This article offers four touchpoints to focus on in your communications.

Joel Schwartzberg in Havard Business Review

7 Tasks Every Leader Must Master

If you’re seeking to be a better leader and create a high-performing organization, there are certain tasks you cannot ignore. As a leader, you’re not only responsible for guiding your team members to success, you’re also responsible for team morale, development, conflict resolution, office culture, along with many other duties. Leading and managing people is a learned skill. Master these seven tasks to create a high-performing organization.

Chris Mayfield in Entrepreneur

Dealing with Disappointment

To constructively deal with disappointment, we need to first understand what has happened. Some instances of disappointment are predictable and preventable. But there are others that are unavoidable and beyond our control. To manage disappointment, we need to differentiate between situations that fall within our control and factors that are beyond it. Being able to recognize the difference will help us to deal with our frustrations more appropriately.

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries in Harvard Business Review

Prevent Burnout by Making Compassion a Habit

Why is stress on the rise? A lot of it has to do with uncertainty in the world and constant changes in our organizations. Many people are overworking, putting in more hours than ever before. The lines between work and home have blurred or disappeared…Under these circumstances, our performance and well-being suffer. Work feels like a burden. Burnout is just around the corner…Here’s the good news: Some people don’t get burned out. They continue to thrive despite the difficult conditions in their workplace. Why? The answer lies in part with empathy, an emotional intelligence competency packed with potent stress-taming powers.

Annie McKee and Kandi Wiens in Harvard Business Review

Making Differences Matter: A New Paradigm for Managing Diversity

Many of us simply hire employees with diverse backgrounds – then await the payoff. We don’t enable employees’ differences to transform how our organization does work. When employees use their differences to shape new goals, processes, leadership approaches, and teams, they bring more of themselves to work. They feel more committed to their jobs – and their companies grow.

David A. Thomas and Robin J. Ely in Harvard Business Review

The Secret to Leading Organizational Change Is Empathy

Studies on organizational change show that leaders across the board agree: if you want to lead a successful transformation, communicating empathetically is critical. But the truth is that most leaders don’t actually know how to do it. In fact, at Duarte, the communication consultancy where I’m Chief Strategy Officer, we conducted a survey of over 200 leading company executives and found that 69% of respondents said that they were planning to launch or are currently conducting a change effort. Unfortunately, 50% of these same execs said they hadn’t fully considered their team’s sentiment about the change. Worse, about half said they were just approaching the change “going on gut.”

Patti Sanchez in Harvard Business Review

Supporting Videos

The Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

Brené Brown – TED Houston

The Surprising Ingredient That Makes Businesses Work Better

What is it about unfairness? Whether it’s not being invited to a friend’s wedding or getting penalized for bad luck or an honest mistake, unfairness often makes us so upset that we can’t think straight. And it’s not just a personal issue — it’s also bad for business, says Marco Alverà. He explains how his company works to create a culture of fairness — and how tapping into our innate sense of what’s right and wrong makes for happier employees and better results.

Marco Alverà – TED BCG Milan

Everyday Leadership

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

Drew Dudley – TED Toronto