Program Success Starts with People: 6 Keys to Developing Your Team Members (Key Five)

Key Five: Positive Working Environment

Creating a positive working environment for your team is a must for every project/program manager. We spend a lot of time working on our projects and nobody wants to experience negativity when they are in the workplace – whether that be in person or virtually.

An unpleasant work environment will make it difficult to retain great resources.

It Starts with You

You might ask how a positive working environment is created. It starts with you, in a leadership role. It is essential that you model a positive attitude and can-do spirit every day. This does not mean that you should never acknowledge team challenges, but it does mean you should approach them with an openness toward creative problem-solving and not complaining. The latter can create a negative downward spiral from a morale perspective.

Remember, the team is always watching you.

Keep It Light

Another key element for creating a positive working environment is to share in humor and laughter. As basic as this may seem, fostering a cadence of humor throughout a day of challenging work lightens the load. The team digs into the work at hand, but has fun doing it.  This is not to say the approach to work should not be serious, but I like to say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get laughing.”

Promoting good humor across the team can be infectious and another key tool for building a team that performs in stellar fashion.

Leave the Office! 

Lastly, get your team out of the office for events/outings. You would be amazed at the benefits this has on team building. I’ve seen even the most challenging team relationships find a sense of greater ease once folks meet one another outside of work, on a more personal level.

When we get people out of the workplace and have focused time to learn more about who they are, their families, hobbies and the like, we appreciate them more and understand how to better work with them. Again, an excellent, simple tool to improve your team’s overall performance.

Want more? Check out Michelle's entire series below...


  • Step One: Understanding the Importance of Staffing
  • Step Two: Identifying the Need
  • Step Three: Crafting the Position Description
  • Step Four: The Interview Process
  • Step Five: Hiring & Follow-up
  • Step Six: Onboarding

Staff Development

  • Key One: Training Needs
  • Key Two: Mentoring
  • Key Three: Individual Feedback
  • Key Four: Group Feedback
  • Key Five: Positive Working Environment
  • Key Six: Modeling Integrity

Additional PM resources:

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