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6 practices to help build a healthy team climate

By | Ladders Contributor |

There is a growing body of research that suggests a healthy climate leads to higher job satisfaction, a healthier workforce (both physically and mentally), lower turnover, higher employee satisfaction, and improved outcomes. This has led to the current organizational movement of focusing on healthier team climates. The key motivation: higher levels of turnover, fewer people entering a particular field or, in some cases, a competitive job market. Attracting and retaining top talent and then ensuring an organization is one in which employees can thrive now sit at the top of leaders’ priority lists.

A healthy climate is one in which team members feel comfortable being themselves, asking questions, sharing ideas, and trusting that their co-workers are there for them when needed. A healthy climate is one in which team members feel valued, respected and safe. The health of the climate is affected by each team member’s actions; it is not just up to the leader to create a healthy climate — it is everyone’s responsibility. However, the leader’s behaviors are indeed essential to creating a climate that minimizes burnout and ensures teams are thriving.

We recommend leaders support their teams by adopting these six practices.

Regularly assess team and climate health

Take time for the leader and team to reflect on and assess team behaviors and practices. Too often unhealthy climates are left to grow and become the norm because leaders do not fully understand the root causes of the negative behaviors and attitudes and, as a result, feel at a loss as to how to affect positive change. An important step in combating turnover and burnout is to invite the team to provide honest feedback about the team’s effectiveness through the completion of a team assessment. This gives the team the opportunity to truly reflect on and share in a safe and anonymous way what they believe the team’s strengths are and, more importantly, where the team needs to improve in terms of its culture. The results of an assessment can give the leader and team valuable insight into how to best support the team, the team’s strengths, and the behaviors and practices that require improvement.

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