Creating a Healthy Work Environment

Creating a Healthy Work Environment

by Cathy Jameson PhD


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Creating a Healthy Work Environment by Cathy Jameson PhD

"What if you loved going to work? What if your co-workers were friends, as well as colleagues? What if your work was personally fulfilling? What if you were encouraged to express your talents and gifts at work? What if you could be 'on purpose' and make a difference? What if you felt appreciated? What if..."

That's what this book is about. Dr. Cathy Jameson's lifelong study of leadership, communication, teamwork and management combine to provide a practical and inspirational guide of how each person in the workplace can make a difference. It's not 'up to the boss' to make the environment healthy. Each person has an opportunity to lead the way to Creating a Healthy Work Environment. You count!

"Cathy Jameson is a clear and bright voice that lifts organizations.
Her contribution to healing and harmonizing cannot be overestimated.
Read this book, open, grow, and succeed in ways beyond those you have known. Highly recommended!"
Alan Cohen | New York Times Best Selling Author
Author of "A Deep Breath of Life", Hay House Publishers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504353250
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 05/13/2016
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)

Read an Excerpt

Creating a Healthy Work Environment

By Cathy Jameson

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2016 Cathy Jameson Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-5325-0


A Healthy Work Environment Begins with Leadership

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

— John Quincy Adams

Each person on a team is a leader — each and every person.

First, you are a leader of yourself. You make a decision about how you will approach the day — every day. Will you bring a good attitude to work — or a sour attitude? Will you be an asset to the organization — or a detriment? Each person has the opportunity to make or break the relationship with a client, customer, vendor, or patient. And so, you choose. How will you impact each day and your organization's productivity?

Second, each person is a leader of other members of the team. Teammates must be able to count on one another. Your colleagues need to trust that you will do what you are supposed to do, how and when you are supposed to do it. And you must be able to count on others in the same way. In addition, ask about the goals and aspirations of your teammates and help them accomplish those aspirations. Encourage their growth and productivity. Everyone wins.

Third, you are a leader of your clients. You cannot push anyone into making a decision, but you can lead them into making a decision — hopefully one that leads them to purchase your product or service. Your interactions with clients will influence their opinions of your team, your employer, and your organization. You are the face of the organization with each and every interaction.

Leadership is the foundation of a healthy work environment. Some leaders are great, and others are not so great. Think of people whose leadership had powerful, positive influences and effects upon your life. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What did they do that was helpful and supportive?

2. How did they talk to you? Did they give you feedback that helped you grow and get better?

3. Was their guidance sometimes tough? Was it positive and constructive?

4. How did you respond when they corrected something you were doing?

5. What actions of good leaders do you want to incorporate into your life, and which things do you never want to do?

Peter Drucker, one of the leading management experts of our time, coined the term knowledge workers. Knowledge workers make up the main body of people in the workplace today. They want to grow, develop, and make a difference. They want to be fairly compensated, have balanced lives, and feel enriched because of the work they are doing. Therefore, as the workplace evolves, altering the skills of leadership to meet the needs of this new knowledge worker will be beneficial to prosperity. Drucker indicated that knowledge workers own their skills. They can and will move if the workplace situation does not allow them to flourish (Drucker, 1999).

The Theory

I am going to lead you through a synopsis of the theory — the research — behind the book you are preparing to read and study. What! Gasp! Theory? Yes, theory. The background. The foundation. The reason behind what I am getting ready to teach you. I don't want you to build a work environment on sand! Nope! I want you to build it on rock. Solid rock. And that's the research. The history. The foundations of truth are instrumental for any long-lasting business, relationship, or country.

As a longtime student of piano, I studied theory ad nauseam. I did my "dozen-a-day" and Czerny exercises every day. My first piano recital piece was "The Country Capers." But, lo and behold, after years of intentional study of the theory and many hours of practice, my senior recital piece was Grieg's "Sonata OP. 7," which I can still play. When you truly learn something, you own it. It isn't a fleeting discovery or a passing fancy. It is grounded. Internally yours. You never know how far you can go with a foundation of theory and a lot of practice!

My intention is to provide the theoretical groundwork — the foundation — to give you the mechanisms to turn principles and theory into daily realities: things you can sink your teeth into, make happen, and put into action. Fair enough? Okay, then, read on.


Transactional versus Transformational Leadership

Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.

— Warren Bennis

There are two distinct types of leadership that are evident in the workplace: transactional and transformational. Let's look at each.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership has been dominant in the workplace historically, but this is changing. In this type of work environment, the leader dictates to followers what they will do and how they will do it. The leader indicates requirements and the results that are to be accomplished and outlines the rewards for fulfilling these requirements. There is little interactive communication. Creativity is not encouraged. Rewards are defined by money — not fulfillment or growth. Rewards for work well done are finite. There's not much room for personal development.

Transactional leadership is a hierarchical style of leadership with a top-down style of authority. The employees do not participate in decision making, and their ideas are not encouraged. Communication channels between executives and employees are limited.

Wow! That doesn't sound fun, does it?

Talented people will leave an organization if they are not challenged and appreciated. In a work environment where transactional leadership is evident, attracting and retaining top team members is tough! They may come, but they may not stay.

Certainly, there are times and situations where the executive team or owners must take charge and, of course, they expect and require certain levels of performance. There are times when transactional leadership is not only desired; it is necessary. However, the methods by which leaders encourage productive performance are changing.

Transformational Leadership

In contrast, transformational leaders inspire and motivate employees to achieve excellent results in their work and to become leaders themselves. Their leadership style is horizontal rather than hierarchical. Workers are empowered, and individual goals as well as organizational goals are aligned with their unique talents and abilities.

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.

— Ralph Nader

Transformational leaders consistently stimulate awareness of the mission and vision of the organization. They encourage team members to be a part of writing goals and designing action plans to accomplish them. In other words, team members participate — and love it.

So study the theory and practice!

Transformational leaders are role models. Colleagues and employees respect them. They trust them to do what they say they will do. Followers believe in their leaders, want to be like them, make them proud by performing well, and emulate the lives of these revered leaders. These leaders function not from a place of power but from a place of integrity and nurturing (Bass and Avolio, 1994). Talented people can and will perform excellently when provided education, development opportunities, and feedback, so continuing education is offered. It is not seen as a mandate but as a benefit. A transformational leader sees employees as individual human beings who have lives outside the organization and honor the "whole person." These leaders have a sense of hope and optimism.

When transformational leaders set their goals and expectations at a high level, employees tend to do the same thing. Alignment with the purpose, mission, and vision is evident in every aspect of the business. All people, all products, all marketing, and all interactions with clients send the same message. When the leader sets this tone and consistently represents this vision, other members of the team will be more likely to do the same (Jameson, 2000).

Optimism is a belief in and expectation of positive outcomes, even in the face of difficulty, challenge, or crisis. Optimism is the expectation for the best in everybody, everything, and every situation.

People come to an organization and stay committed to the organization for different reasons.

1. Some love the work itself because it gives them a chance to make a difference, affect the life of another, or work toward positive social change.

2. Some want and need the money, the benefits, and the practical, essential elements of life.

3. Some want the social interaction with people who share a common interest and vision.

4. Some thrive in an environment where their gifts and talents are appreciated

5. And some come for all of the above reasons (L. Murphy, 2005).

Rather than coming to work for the sole purpose of drawing a paycheck, people who are inspired and motivated by a transformational leader want to be there. They perform well as a commitment to the organization and the leaders rather than from a posture of compliance. When people find creative expression in their work and experience joy and happiness in the workplace, the emotions transfer to home and family (Bass and Avolio, 1994). Employees today want to be trusted with the freedom to make decisions and to be creative while doing so (Webb, 2007).

What an exciting time in the workplace today. Natural, caring relationships are desired rather than tyrannical relationships that are difficult for all parties. Transformational leadership is the way of the future — and the future is now.


Enlightened Leadership

Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention.

— Deepak Chopra

Consider the values that Chopra states in this opening quote: truth, goodness, beauty, love, compassion, intuition, creativity, insight, and focused attention. Interpret those values into your own thought processes and experiences. What does each mean to you? To your organization? Does this seem "fluffy" to you? Something you want to avoid like the plague? Would it be interesting or great if these values were present in your interactions with each other and with your customers?

Throughout this book, I am going to take these fluffy areas and give you nuts and bolts ways to create an environment where this is not only the standard but the norm. People in the digital and technological era of today are not the same as people from the industrial era. Don't turn your head away and pretend you don't see. Embrace the terrific evolution that is occurring as transformational leadership comes into its own. While the great leaders, theorists, and researchers have professed the values of this type of leadership for centuries, its time has come.

Today's knowledge worker wants to maximize potential, find satisfaction in the workplace, and be respected by colleagues and employers. They want to be competent in their jobs. People spend so much time at work, and they want to enjoy being there. With a more respectful, communicative relationship between employer and employee, the employer/leader becomes the one who serves the employee rather than the reverse (Durkheim, 1961).

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.
The last is to say thank you.
In between, the leader is a servant.
— Max De Pree

Hierarchy of Needs

Can a book be written on management without including a nod of the head to Maslow? Not this psychologist! The work of Abraham Maslow is foundational to the principles being described throughout this book.

Maslow (1999) developed a hierarchy of needs, delineating the various levels of need in a human being that must be satisfied for a person to rise to the next level of development. People can advance to the next level of need only when they have satisfied the previous level or levels. This principle applies to the work environment and life in general. The hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1999) follows (from lowest to highest):

1. physiological needs

2. safety and security needs

3. social needs: love and belonging

4. esteem needs

5. self-actualization

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

In an environment that professes and practices what Maslow termed enlightened management (1998), employees are trusted, and they trust the leaders. Needs are identified, and effort is made to satisfy those needs. Mutual care and respect are evident between and among employees and employers. In this kind of an enlightened environment, the concept of teamwork, cooperation, and spirit of unity can develop. Synergy is desired. Well-established systems make it possible for people to function at an optimum level, synergistically.

A young person with whom I work said, "I know I can do what I'm supposed to do because I can count on my teammates to do what they are supposed to do. We function like a well-oiled machine: no glitches. Things flow really well because we are a cohesive unit. It's fun!" Unselfish behavior is the hallmark rather than a competitive, hostile environment.


Csikszentmihalyi (1990) described flow as "a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it." This kind of experience, inside or outside of work, is pleasurable to the point that people lose track of time and are not easily distracted from the activity in which they are engaged. They are deeply involved in the activity and do not want to stop — even for meals. They may find it difficult to turn their attention to other activities or to other people; time seems to pass quickly without notice (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, and Whalen, 1993).

Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues found that flow is being in a zone or a mental state where people become so fully immersed in an activity or project that they have focused energy, total involvement, and enjoyment in what they are doing. Flow is "completely focused motivation." People who truly love their work and the service they are providing are happier, more successful, and accomplish a higher level of performance. The flow theory proposes three conditions that have to be met to create a state of flow:

1. A clear set of goals and methods for evaluation. This provides directions and structure to tasks being performed.

2. Clear and immediate feedback that allows for rapid adjustments to be made to improve performance

3. A balance between the perception of the difficulty of the task and the perception of the ability to perform the task. Confidence is a characteristic of flow. (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)

The challenges of staying in flow are boredom, apathy, and anxiety.

1. Boredom: Challenges are few and far between; a person's skills level exceeds the requirement of the job; talent is not nurtured. Remedy: These people will seek other opportunities if they are not challenged. Provide new responsibilities that give them a chance to stretch and grow. Trust them.

2. Apathy: No interest. Skills are underused. Challenges are low. Unmotivated. Don't care. Remedy: Find their interest. Match the interests to the tasks. Light the fire.

3. Anxiety: Challenges are so high that they exceed a person's ability or skill level. This causes distress and discomfort. Remedy: New skills can be learned. Provide support, education, and feedback to lift skill level and confidence.


Excerpted from Creating a Healthy Work Environment by Cathy Jameson. Copyright © 2016 Cathy Jameson Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments, xi,
Preface, xiii,
Part I. The Theory: The Foundation for a Healthy Work Environment,
Chapter 1 A Healthy Work Environment Begins with Leadership, 3,
Chapter 2 Transactional versus Transformational Leadership, 7,
Chapter 3 Enlightened Leadership, 11,
Part II. The Action Plan: How to Create a Healthy Work Environment,
Chapter 4 The Right Team Members, 19,
Chapter 5 Integration, 27,
Chapter 6 Purpose, 34,
Chapter 7 Mission Statement, 40,
Chapter 8 Vision, 49,
Chapter 9 Goal Accomplishment: Part 1, 59,
Chapter 10 Goal Accomplishment: Part 2 Strategic Planning, 67,
Chapter 11 Systems, 78,
Chapter 12 Communication, 91,
Chapter 13 Trust, 100,
Chapter 14 Appreciation, 115,
Chapter 15 Respect, 127,
Chapter 16 Accountability, 140,
Chapter 17 Pride in Work Well Done, 149,
Chapter 18 Engagement, 156,
Chapter 19 Decision Making, 167,
Chapter 20 Confrontation with Care, 180,
Chapter 21 Problem Solving: The Key to Progress, 187,
Chapter 22 Delegation of Responsibility, 194,
Chapter 23 Reward for Work Well Done, 200,
Chapter 24 Change, 207,
Chapter 25 Reflections and Telescopes, 217,
Chapter 26 Fun!, 225,
Imagine, 229,
Bibliography, 231,
Appendix: New Employee Orientation Checklist, 239,
About the Author, 243,

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