Dental offices pay close attention to how they interact with their patients — but what about interacting with the office staff? A positive work environment fosters a happier staff and a more productive office. Make sure your office isn't suffering from attitude problems.

Practice Appreciative Language

You don't have to be the boss to tell your coworkers they're doing well. Don't hold back when you think someone's done a good job. Letting the people you work with know that you value them — whether you're their manager, peer, or subordinate — creates a positive workplace environment. If someone helps you out, thank them, even if it's for a small thing. Also, try making an office calendar with birthdays and other important events on it, so you can celebrate each other as individuals.

Pay Attention to Phrasing

When you want to say something negative about how the workplace is run or about how a coworker does something, stop and think about your phrasing for a moment. Is there a positive way you can phrase the issue to get the same result? "Don't leave the coffee pot empty!" and "Be kind and brew a new batch!" mean the same thing, but one is phrased in a positive way while the other is negative.

Check Negativity at the Door

We all have those days where everything goes wrong, and all we want to do is complain about the entire office. Even one complaint can spark a negative conversation about everything wrong with the office environment. There's no harm in venting, but make sure it doesn't happen while at work — or to coworkers during the off-hours. Vent to a spouse, a friend, or a therapist. It won't be easy at first to leave negativity out of work conversations, but it's a good practice to engage in.

Respect All Work Contributions

The higher up people are on the ladder, the more praise they seem to get. But all employees are valuable to businesses, from the lowest positions on the payroll right up to the CEO. One of the best ways to foster respect for all positions in employees is to start with the leaders. If company leaders and managers actively value the contributions of everyone, right down to the janitors, it fosters a culture of mutual respect.

Tolerate No Abusive Language

What one person finds funny may be disrespectful or downright offensive to another. Make sure co-workers know that ethnicity, race, gender, or other cultural definitions are not acceptable topics for jokes or teasing. A workplace with a positive attitude is a workplace of inclusion, where nobody feels undervalued or threatened by sexism, racism, homophobia, or other bigotry. A strong human resources policy with good communication avenues is immensely helpful in these instances.

Everyone has bad days, so don't focus on punishing someone for being in a bad mood. Instead, work on lifting the office in general into a better overall attitude. Even on those hard days, the office will be a brighter place, and your patients will notice the difference.

Image via Flickr by thetaxhaven