If your organization is looking for the true secret to increase sales and productivity, it's simple: increase morale. Rather than looking for theories or testing unproven research, increasing employee morale has proven itself over again as the one tool that produces the most positive results.
It just requires work, thus it's often ignored. Essentially morale creates a culture - a "get happy or get out, but get somewhere" culture.
Creating the culture of "get happy or get out" is simple but that doesn't mean it's easy, which is why most leaders keep looking for the "other"
secret sauce that is easier to execute and deliver. It takes strong leadership and commitment to the process to make the culture change successfully.
A "get happy or get out" culture encourages employees to stop complaining and being negative; either enjoy your job and be a positive person or find a job that makes you happy. Nobody likes to work with negative employees, but sometimes as leaders it's easier to ignore them than to take action and deal with "bad attitude" Bobby or "negative" Nancy. News flash: as a manager or leader of an organization it IS your job to deal with them.
Why is a positive attitude so important? What about the people who are just not positive or are naturally grumpy? Do we fire everyone who doesn't come into work with the overly bubbly attitude of, "It's so great to be alive and so great to work with all of these great people"? Being positive is not about being overly cheerful, rather it is about being externally happy and pleasant toward others and it should be a requirement of any organization.
When people ask, "How are you doing?" it means responding with "I'm doing great!" or heck, even, "I'm living the dream!" And being positive shouldn't be difficult - in fact, there are three simple reasons why everybody in a successful organization should have a positive attitude:
1. Life is too short to be unhappy.
2. Many individuals spend more time at work than anywhere else including
home, so they should not have to deal with negative, life-sucking peers and supervisors.
3. It increases productivity, sales, customer satisfaction and employee job satisfaction.
It's your job
Oftentimes, managers and leaders make the mistake of defining doing a good job as completing a task. For example, if the warehouse employee is early everyday, has zero shrinkage and his facility is in perfect condition, but he is always negative and cranky, and most people avoid him because he is unbearable to be around, his manager may say he does his job well - he's just a grumpy and negative person by nature. Wrong! His job is to work the tasks of the warehouse and be a positive aspect of the business. The operational stuff is just part of the overall job description. The actual job is doing the tasks with a positive attitude and enjoying your work.
It's easy to think that only customer service employees should be happy and positive (actually some customer service people don't even realize that is a priority either). That's a mistake. If a company treats all of their employees the same way they want their employees to treat the customers, they will start see an improvement in the results. This does not mean people don't have bad days and that nothing ever goes wrong, but it does mean that employees shouldn't make other people's days miserable and project their problems onto others - especially not customers and co-workers. This culture starts at the top. A leader must first be happy and positive before he or she can expect it from the team.
How is it done?
The first thing is to make it a hard and fast expectation for all employees - not just customer service personnel or management. The second thing is to hold everyone accountable to it. Like most job expectations it must be tracked and enforced consistently. If a person stole money or product from a company, they would be fired instantly. Bad attitudes and negativity are stealing - and in fact, it's usually at a much larger dollar amount than the tangible things that people steal.
Measuring a positive attitude is difficult for many HR departments because some feel it is not tangible. Why not make it tangible by working on the little things? A smile is part of the work uniform. Negative gossiping is not permitted. Treat all customers like your mother or someone you love and respect. Every employee needs to be helpful and make it their priority to make others feel special.
Being a positive and a helpful person is not always an attribute; it is a skill that can be taught. Show the team members how to walk with a customer to find a product, how to greet a customer, how share struggles with management and co-workers, how to communicate. Teach people how to have a great attitude and how to be helpful. Most importantly, make this part of your weekly and monthly practice sessions during meetings and trainings.
It makes ALL the difference
The fact remains that negativity and bad attitudes will hurt a company's financials a lot more than a poor economy. Creating a positive and happy environment does not mean to accept subpar performance and not hold people accountable; in fact, it is the exact opposite. Hold everyone accountable to exceeding his or her expectations. Constructive feedback and corrective action by a manger is not being negative because the intent is to make them better (or should be approached as such). How the person responds to the coaching is the basis of determining their coach-ability and their attitude.
So tell everyone "get happy or get out but get somewhere!"
About the Author:
Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group and author of "The Sales Leaders Playbook," is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former Executive Director for Sprint, and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. His clients include Radio Shack, Nationwide Insurance, ThyssenKrupp Elevators, The News Group, Metro PCS, and Century 21.