Q: In your book, you talk of the five "symptoms" of a healthy workplace culture. What are they, and what makes them healthy? A: In a healthy workplace culture: Employees know it's not a democracy, but their voices matter. When employees feel they can offer ideas and be heard, they are happier at work - even if they don't get to make all the final decisions.For the the rest of the symptoms and many more tips, here's a link to the "Top Workplaces" special section.
That's important here, for sure, because public radio is built on ideas. But every good organization wants to capture and cultivate good proposals, plans, thoughts, suggestions. It works best when leaders understand how to cultivate great ideas. How to make it easy and effective to pitch, catch and coach them.In preparation for the teaching, I immersed myself in a good amount of literature about brainstorming, collaboration and innovation. I turned that into a column and podcast for Poynter.org, titled "Don't Be an Idea Killer: Ten Tips for Cultivating Good Ideas." Here's how I begin:
Some of our best ideas come when we’re taking a break from concentration. At least, that’s what recent research says. Since the concept for this column coalesced while I was sweating my way through a Zumba class, I’m prepared to believe it.
I’d been doing a lot of reading about the cultivation of ideas — especially the leader’s role in brainstorming, creativity and innovation. I collected insights and advice from all sorts of experts to use in my teaching. I wanted to craft a column, too, but kept debating with myself about the framing.
Not surprisingly, my breakthrough came when I stopped fretting and shifted my focus to enjoying some music and keeping pace with the class leader.
Welcome to the Aarhus studios and offices of DR - Danish Broadcasting.
On a Friday morning in April, I spent the day there to teach about leadership and success. To say I was welcomed would be an understatement. Take a look at the front door! That poster, announcing my morning talk to the full staff, was not only there, but everywhere around the building.
I had been asked to talk to DR employees about a successful, creative and competitive workplace, with both the joys and the demands it places on people. In fact, the talk was titled "Surviving Success." The shot below is from the back of the gathering. I'm that tiny spot in the front right corner.
Fortunately, English is a second (or third or fourth!) language for many Danes, because my Danish is quite limited. It's so limited, I told the group, that I knew only a few Danish words: "tusen takk" -- which means "thank you very much" and "velkommen," which is "welcome." But for this day, I had learned a new and very powerful Danish word. Here it is:
ArbejdsglædeIt is the Danish word for "happiness at work." Isn't it interesting that there's no one-word equivalent for it in English? We talk about motivation, or job satisfaction, but arbejdsglæde means more than that. It means the workplace is a great place and people look forward to coming to work. Great bosses guiding great employees create that culture of arbejdsglæde.
The DR staff applauded my attempt to pronounce the word. (Sounds like "ah-BITES-glay-the") Later that day, I applauded their managers for their focus on leadership, during our daylong workshop.These are the top leaders of various aspects of DR's news and information programming. We talked about their values and how values lead to the choices they make every day as leaders. We focused on communication, collaboration and the development of successful and happy staff. As you can tell from the extra care DR took to emphasize the positive, right down to putting an image of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" on the manager's name cards, the word "arbejdsglæde" might have been new to me, but it's in the leadership lexicon of this team.