Stand Up Against Bullying: A blog to help stop workplace bullying
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The Most Important Components of a Healthy Work Environment

Original publication date January 3, 2016, Edited and republished on August 30, 2021

A resilient and healthy work environment is important for the organization but it also benefits workers. At times, every workplace struggles with maintaining a healthy work environment. Workers are a key component to the preservation of a quality work environment. A well-balanced and resilient work culture takes hard work, commitment, and skill development for everyone including leaders, supervisors, and other workers.

The assumption and expectation when you hire adults and professionals are that they know how to behave in the workplace. But this is often not the case because it is rare that workers are taught professional skills. Most organizations do not define their professional expectations, nor do they have policies that uphold these standards. Organization’s failure to do so puts them at-risk to morph into a bully culture.

So, what professional skills are vital to a healthy work environment? In broad terms, every worker should know how to communicate appropriately with others, be able to resolve conflict, and give and receive feedback. Organizations should add skills that are needed for their particular job and workforce.

Developing a clear understanding that the workplace is not devoid of conflict is extremely important for professionals. Conflict is a normal part of the workplace and a resilient work culture deal with conflict as it arises. Individuals, therefore, need to know how manage conflict effectively. This takes skill development and practice on the part of individuals as well as organizations. It also takes a workplace culture that is open to talk about successes and failures when it comes to conflict resolution. The individual and the environment need to be flexible, willing to change, and to learn from their successes and failures.

Professionals need to interact and communicate effectively with their co-workers. Effective communication includes active listening. Active listening is about hearing what another person is saying and ensuring that one’s own biases are not influencing what is being said. As such, hearing what our colleagues are really saying is just as important as being able to authentically communicate, both verbally and non-verbally, to our co-workers.

Another vital piece of interaction and communication is giving and receiving constructive feedback. Constructive feedback requires providing information about the behavior of colleagues and should help them develop as a professional. It does not allow for personal attacks or pettiness. Constructive and productive feedback also requires practice and skill development, but also assists workers with being able to interact more positively at work.
Feedback also requires that professionals develop self-reflection skills. This allows them to critically consider the impact of their behavior on others in the workplace. For example, I might believe that I am just speaking loudly to my colleagues, but they interpret it as yelling. Self-reflection requires that I reflect on their interpretation and change my professional behavior for the betterment of the workplace. Self-reflection is key to the healthy workplace but extremely hard to master because it demands analysis of our own behavior. Self-reflection mandates we be willing to change our behavior even when we believe we are not doing anything wrong.

These are just a few vital pieces of developing a healthy and resilient workplace. The healthy workplace takes works and commitment from the entire organization and all workers. But it is necessary to maintain a safe place to work where workers are productive and content and to stop the bully culture.

Action Plan
Reflect on the above areas and rate yourself in each area. Provide one strategy that you can use for improvement.
Conflict resolution
Very Good Good Acceptable Poor

Very Good Good Acceptable Poor

Very Good Good Acceptable Poor

Giving constructive feedback
Very Good Good Acceptable Poor

Receiving constructive feedback
Very Good Good Acceptable Poor