A workplace ruled by mistrust and a lack of values probably isn’t a very happy nor productive environment.

A healthy workplace environment exists when the directors and their employees are open and productive regarding their attitudes, consistent with their actions and honest when dealing with others. virtue is achieved when people have a high level of credibility, respect, fairness and when they treat others equally. When you achieve a strong, positive perception in those three dimensions, you achieve the perception of virtue.

In other words, people trust you for who you are on a personal and professional level. In order to be trustworthy, a person or a company needs to be perceived as credible, respectful and fair in his or its way of handling things. Virtue is one of the hardest values to achieve and also one of the easiest ones to lose. You can’t just “buy” virtue, win it in a lottery or simply stumble upon it on the street.

Virtue in a person is earned through both his personal and professional actions over an undetermined period of time. Virtue must be mutual among all parties involved, regardless of their job positions. In a company, the sum of all the actions is what generates the level of virtue found in a group.

In other words, the actions of the individuals generate the actions of the group and those in turn, build or harm the trust in the workplace.

Credibility, Respect, Fairness and Performance are the 4 main factors that lead to high virtue. Those need to exist in order for people to embody that value and experience joy, engagement and motivation at work. If there’s no Virtue, people will find it difficult to feel safe enough to open up, shine and be who they really are, which is when they generate a high level of identity, fellowship and happiness.

In turn, this generates the happiness of the team and the company as a whole. People can grow virtue by being fair and consistent when dealing with others. Those who say one thing and do something else create problems for others and for themselves. When people feel cheated or treated unfairly by someone, chances are low that they’ll go the extra mile for that person. On the other hand, people will feel motivated to give 100% of their attention and effort to their job when someone acts with integrity and keeps their interests in mind.

A workforce that lacks virtue will quickly create a work environment ruled by unhealthy competition, slander and gossip. It’s hard to be productive or even happy in such an environment. The workers who trust each other to have the best interests at heart, will have more open and flexible ideas and will be more willing to put effort into the company.

A workplace environment that’s mainly ruled by such an attitude will have an easier time conveying it to its new employees and therefore creating an environment that automatically generates openness, trust and integrity.

WAYS TO GAIN VIRTUE IN THE WORKPLACE

Be a team player

Supervisors who care about more than their own agenda can gain the trust of their colleagues and their staff. Subordinates and team members usually don't trust supervisors who aren't team players. That’s partly because they seem to be manipulating situations in order to ensure their own advances and making decisions that’ll benefit their own careers. Staff has more trust in the supervisors who work on its behalf, as well as the company's.

Consistence

Even an unpopular decision can win the trust of the team members if the person who makes it seems to be consistent in making beneficial decisions for the company. For example, the managers who share the company’s objectives with the staff will gain the employees’ trust if their decisions support those objectives, even if it means more work to achieve them. This kind of decision-making shows employees that the boss is committed to achieving benefits for all. The decisions that don’t support these objectives can make employees think that their boss was promoting ideas that sounded good but that he didn’t have a plan to back them up.

Gossip

People who have the discipline to avoid gossiping in the office usually gain the trust of their colleagues and bosses. Gossip in the workplace makes people less trustworthy, as information isn't kept safe and private. The gossipers don't even realize the damage they can do to the reputation of others. In general, managers don't trust employees who spread gossip about the company's operations or who speak ill of the managers who make the decisions. Gossip, whether in person, on Facebook or via other social networks can backfire on the employees, as complaints and office gossip are out in the open for co-workers to see.

Commitment

It’s important for the staff and the administration to provide updates about the commitments they made regarding maintaining a healthy level of virtue. Employees who offer their bosses regular updates about their projects create more virtue, as they don't keep them in the dark about the handling of their responsibilities. On the other hand, employers must do the same by updating their employees about the company's commitments that directly affect them, even if the resulting outcomes have negative effects.

The employees’ distrust towards the employers can grow when commitments have been broken or have never even been fulfilled.

TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE YOUR VIRTUE INDEX

At the end of the day, subordinates seek guidance and direction from their leaders. Therefore, creating virtue in the workplace starts with the supervising team. Give your subordinates a reason to trust you. Start by practicing transparency. Avoid falsifying or omitting essential information, making unreasonable comparisons between subordinates, businesses or even clients, abandoning professional commitments and becoming unapproachable to suppliers, employees and clients.

√ BE A ROLE MODEL

√ YOU NEED TO BE RECEPTIVE TO INFORMATION

√ SHARE SUCCESS AND FAILURES OFFER MULTIPLE WAYS OF COMMUNICATION √ DELEGATE

√ ENCOURAGE COLLABORATION

Employees help create happy customers and are often full of ideas to keep the business going. Listen to what your subordinates have to say about the processes and procedures, advertising ideas, ways to improve products and services and the difficulties one can face in the workplace. If you're receptive to that information, whether it's a complaint or an idea, you're showing to your subordinates that you respect what they have to say. As a result, they can build an even deeper trust with you, the company and their co-workers.

You can build a sense of community allowing your subordinates and the supervising team to share their successes and failures in an encouraging environment that’s free of any kind of judgement. Before a meeting in which your subordinates update you about their projects, ask them to share an achievement and a failure, or a challenge, that they experienced during the week or weeks leading up to that meeting. Let them share without any interruptions, congratulate them for their achievements and give them helpful suggestions to get over the problems they faced.

Sharing this information can help the subordinates see that their peers are going through similar problems and that the team is there to provide mutual support.

Be accessible to your subordinates and encourage them to be creative when communicating among each other. You can create a company blog, a suggestion box, set up a forum on the company’s Intranet, use instant messaging programs or even have an open door policy.

One of the main challenges faced by supervisors and managers is the lack of delegation. By taking on the majority of the workload, you’re setting yourself up for a burnout and lack of productivity. Employees may think that you don’t have faith in them, their abilities, their skills and their knowledge. By delegating work you’re showing your subordinates that you trust the decision you made to hire them and that you know that they have the necessary skills to accomplish the assigned tasks. The more subordinates start working with each other, the more likely they’ll create meaningful relationships.

Encourage your employees to work together in teams on the same projects, so that they can build more virtue and feel comfortable with one another when asking for help.

The Virtue Index represents the average of the following Categories:

  • Credibility

  • Respect

  • Fairness

  • Individual Performance.

Someone who scores high in these Categories exhibits high moral standards and can be considered a virtuous person.

Virtuous people are credible, respectful of others’ beliefs and origins, treat people with fairness, and strive to meet their obligations – including professional obligations.

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