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Inc recently published Suzanne Lucas' advice to managers, How to Create An Awesome Company Culture. While much power rests in the managers' hands, worker bees also contribute to atmosphere, office life, and company culture. You may not be able to change policies with nothing more than an announcement, but you can have a strong effect on the culture in your workplace.
One survey found that employees value candid communication in workplace. You need not be a manager to be forthright with your co-workers. Far from being rude, candid communication is clear, concise, and direct.
Don't beat around the bush. For example, "Are you available this afternoon to help with the Browning Project? It is due at 4 p.m. What do you think?" is so much better than, "Who wants to help with the Browning Project? C'mon guys, help me out, it's due soon." In general, people appreciate being given specific information to work with, and to know what is expected of them.
Lucas' article discusses the need for fair, honest, and transparent management. If you are not management, you don't control that. But you do control your own level of honesty and fairness to your co-workers.
Don't blame others for your own mistakes. Take responsibility for yourself. Instead, learn from your mistakes and attempt to do better. You will contribute to your company culture as well as to your own career success. And if the only way to get ahead in your company is to stab others in the back, you are probably better off elsewhere.
Over at Forbes, they discuss how company culture affects employee engagement. A large part of engagement at work is a sense of social friendliness in the workplace. This seems to make sense, as full-time employees spend so much of their waking hours at work.
You need not become best friends with your co-workers, but why not offer to have lunch with them and chat? You may also suggest to management ways to foster a sense of community in your workplace, such as a company lunch break. An inexpensive way to do this is have everyone bring a brown bag and take lunch together. Some places close a little early on Friday night and meet at a public place for drinks and schmoozing. Think about what might work at your company.
While you might not be in charge, you can foster a sense of community and a better company culture by your own behavior and treatment of others.
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