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SHEEP and wool supply chain businesses invest considerable time, money and effort in recruiting best-fit employees for the vacant roles at hand, as well as the company as a whole.
Businesses aim to recruit employees who are proactive, skilled and motivated to perform the duties of their job as well as become valuable members of the team and the business.
However, no matter how functional, productive, supportive and thriving a team may be, beef supply businesses are not immune from negativity occurring within the workplace from time to time.
What is negativity in the workplace?
Negative attitudes can be contagious and quickly spread throughout a team, creating an undesirable and potentially destructive environment for employees to work within. Even best-performing and positive employees can be affected.
These attitudes can also pose several risks to the health and reputation of the business if not recognised and dealt with quickly. While signs including poor attendance, gossiping and meager job performance may indicate trouble is brewing, there are things managers and business owners can do to diffuse and overcome negative behaviour.
To deal with negative behaviour in the workplace appropriately, the cause of such attitude needs to be determined.
A woolgrowing property may have had let go some workers due to drought or low stock numbers, or a recent promotion of a colleague into an overseers’ position may have caused ire among other employees.
Whatever the cause, tackle workplace negativity by the horns with the following tips and get teams back on track:
Lead by example
Mangers and business owners, whether it be in the woolshed, lamb processing plant or grazing enterprise, are in positions of influence and provide a source of leadership to their team.
The goal is for team members to be positive and work cohesively, so by leading by example can create a positive and supportive environment where negativity does not reign. It can’t be expected that both managers and workers will be in good moods all the time, by making a conscious effort to being positive and standing by this commitment is essential.
Negativity can occur from workers speculating or spreading their discontent among colleagues.
Overcome this behaviour by promoting an open and transparent environment where communication among team members is valued. Through open communication channels, team members are informed of the facts from both a company and team level which can not only minimise workers from being affected by any bad attitudes, though can also diffuse sources of negative behaviour among workers.
Regular team meetings as well as one-on-one catch-ups are some ways in which transparency in the workplace can be promoted.
Remember, it is best not to ignore discontent within the workplace hoping it will resolve itself. Communicating acknowledges any concerns, provides clarification on misunderstandings and promotes positivity within the team.
Create an open door policy where support is offered
Stress can be a major contributing factor for negative behaviour and can seriously deflate team morale.
A worker can become stressed for many reasons including overtime demands, changes in industry or company performance, poor management or even going through difficult times at home. Creating an open door policy in which workers feel comfortable approaching their manager to discuss their problems can help reintroduce positivity into the team.
In an industry in which production supply and demand can fluctuate, a worker may become concerned about their job after noticing the decreased output their employer may be experiencing, or a business may have hired a new manager to keep up with increased demand instead of promoting internally and causing existing employees to become disgruntled.
In any situation, communication is key for a team to succeed and function properly. By being open, honest and communicating with workers frequently will help diffuse any concerns they may have and reassures team members by acknowledging the business understands their concern and details what is being done.
Depending on the cause of negativity, businesses may be able to offer an employee assistance program to support their workers overcome any stress they may be experiencing.
Don’t forget that a fun environment where productivity and quality isn’t compromised is one in which workers will thrive. Having a laugh and encouraging light-hearted humour (obviously not at the expense of others) among team members can foster an enjoyable culture with the focus largely on positivity as opposed to negativity while team members build healthy and trustworthy relationships.
By incorporating values of positivity in the workplace, beef industry managers and business owners can create a supportive working environment and overcome negativity that may and will occur from time to time.
Source: AWX Agribusiness – “Partners in People”
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