The business may get bigger, but you will not grow. The first step to not fighting is to stop picking fights.

Matt Jackson is the founder of and the author of The Age of Affect, which offers insight into the way we do business and how it affects people’s thoughts and feelings. He believes that nurturing an encouraging workplace culture is of prime importance.  

Here are several behaviours you can implement to instill confidence in your employees and create a supportive environment, according to Jackson.

Shift away from adversarial thinking 

If you want a competitive, angry battlefield to hack your way through, business certainly offers that. However, you will find it exhausting and isolating to see everyone as an adversary. It is also impossible for you to grow personally.

The business may get bigger, but you will not grow. The first step to not fighting is to stop picking fights. See problems objectively as something to be solved together rather than immediately looking for who is at fault.

Hire on principle

An individual should fit the values and purpose of your business, not the look and personality. If you can find people you can disagree with, hire them. Create a culture where all colleagues hold each other accountable to the values and purpose of the business. The people who agree with the principles of the organisation and are willing to challenge the execution of them are the people who open up the doors of opportunity for the business.

Collaborative or competitive culture

Collaborative behaviour is not always superior to competitive behaviour, or vice versa. The danger of too much competition is that the levels of adrenaline are too high for too long. This leads to stress and individuals regressing into a self-centred, fear-driven and self-preservation mode of operation.

Facilitate the creative instinct

When collaborators contribute ideas and the rest of the team expand on them, everyone is highly tuned and focused. If a brainstorm is facilitated well and judgment is suspended by all members, then everyone feels energised. Working collaboratively for half an hour reinforces how productive we can be when we have access to resources beyond our own.

Swap compliments for encouragements

Encouraging someone requires you to focus on the individual qualities unique to them. This affects the person you are encouraging in a profound way, which compliments and praise do not.

Telling someone that they are “correct” or “smart” directs attention away from their personal contribution and toward some system of assessment or metric outside of themselves.

To increase the amount a person participates, direct the encouragement into their heart by saying: “I like the way you think, specifically the way you….” This will lead to them thinking more, and fearing less.

Value passion over experience

When choosing what role is best suited to each team member, assign responsibility for each and every business goal to the person who is most passionate about its achievement. Place more importance on passion than experience.

If you hire the people who have the most experience, you will often find that they lack the desire to challenge themselves and experiment with new ways of achieving goals – preferring to do things the way they have always done them.


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