How to Turn Your Colleagues Into Angels

What does work have to do with angels? Well, at least close to the holidays, it is easier to see the symbolism of the heavenly beings. The workplace does not have much in common with the winged creatures, yet it does so with angelic qualities.

People are not always angels. Work included. It seems that work atmosphere can often bring devilish qualities to people who have displayed the golden side of their character.

The expression may sound funny, and you may laugh it all you like, but promoting angelic qualities in employees makes for success. Constructive behavior improves, develops and brings the riches closer.

How to behave constructively?

1.Build and nurture positive relationships.

This one is an oldie, but a goodie. Employees who have better relationships with their supervisors are less likely to develop counterproductive behavior. Ah, but there are so many things that come under the hat of “positive relationships”. You may think you cannot manage all. If there is only one thing you can start doing just now in this direction, choose equivalence of power.  Make wise decisions on how you use your position. Distribution of power that goes both ways is most successful.

2.Create a sense of justice.

The sense of justice is very subjective. We do like to define and measure what is just or justified, but the feeling of justice is very personal. There is a lot of research on justice. Most of it is connected with behaviors, and less is about personality traits or about organizational climate. These are two things that need to be looked into further.

It is very likely that the dynamics of the space occupied – the workplace will contribute to one person’s sense of justice. One would act differently in war and in peace.

This is especially important as counterproductive work behavior is contagious. It is the “If they can do it, I can do it” thinking.

Counterproductivity is present in groups with less developed consciousness prone to primitive behavior. Primitive behavior is to the benefit of the individual, and not to the collective. It can often be to other members’ disadvantage. The less developed the group consciousness, the more are success and intelligence related to abuse of power, violence, and destructive actions towards people or property.

3.Trust and direct.

The atmosphere of trust and direction is one without resistance. When you trust and direct you assume and expect co-operation from others. If you suspect and delegate, you assume and expect animosity and resistance.

Can you notice the difference in the wording? In the latter situation, you further yourself from the other person and the responsibility. You “throw” something at them. The first choice of words is related to positive reinforcement and the second to retribution.

This is often the reason why performance management programs fail. It is the essence of “You can make people do, but you cannot make people want”. Promoting angelic qualities is only possible if you make people want. Force and penalties do not work.

Staying away from making people do, does not mean putting up with behavior which is violent or abusive to people, work equipment or property. It is simply an understanding what works and what doesn’t.

This comes as a perfect place to point out the one thing you should avoid doing:

Please do not make a lot of effort if your collaborator is low on conscientiousness and empathy. People low on the trait of conscientiousness at work are more likely to develop counterproductive behavior. One needn’t expect from them a lot of awareness about a righteous exchange and collective contribution to the group.

At the end, this last point strikes the importance of selection and recruitment. If development, change and promotion of angelic group qualities is something that you want to see at your workplace, a good place to start is by recruiting conscientious employees.

Happy holidays!

Featured Photo Credit: Free the Image via / CC BY

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