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Positive Workplace Culture

Updated 22 July 2021 (Published 14 September 2017) by Jessica in Business Tips

On this episode of the Bam Creative Show, we decided to go off the beaten path and talk about workplace culture, as it affects the work we do and the relationships we have with our team members.

Positive Workplace Culture

Episode 8

Show notes

Here's the deal:

Our Digital Strategist, Jess, read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People during her recent trip to Sydney, which was a huge influence for this episode, as well as the work that our MD, Miles Burke, does for 6Q.

We talked some of Carnegie's principles and how they apply to workplace culture, as well as other pressing matters.

Episode highlights:

  • 02:21 How to maintain work/life balance
  • 11:21 Equality and women in the workplace
  • 23:24 Effective communication and the difference between arguing and debating
  • 25:52 Passive aggressiveness in the workplace and how to constructively give feedback

You can listen to or watch the episode or you can check out the extended full post below.

Got questions? 

We want to hear from you! If you have any questions about this episode, email us: or tweet us @bamcreative.

Positive workplace culture

On a recent trip to Sydney, our Digital Strategist, Jess, picked up a copy of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s a famous book that’s all about how to, well, influence people, by using kindness and understanding.

After discussing some of the principles in the book, it flowed naturally into the fundamentals of a positive workplace culture.

Work/life balance

We hear so often about work/life balance, and see many job ads that offer this as a positive aspect as to why you should apply for the position.

With more Australians doing insane amounts of overtime, work/life is incredibly important as it allows you not only the time to enjoy yourself outside of hours, but also to look after your family.

It’s important for any workplace to recognise that you’re a person with a life outside of work that may sometimes flow into work hours.

Most employers ask only that their employees do the work and do it well, allowing them the freedom of flexibility. This is an aspect of trust and respect, which can encourage increased productivity and motivation at work.

On the topic of work/life balance, we’re more about creating harmony, as balance suggests that everything is consistently 50/50 which is not always the case.

As Josh mentioned in the episode, life is kind of like an orchestra. Every now and then, different parts may need to be louder or quieter at different times.

It’s all about knowing when certain areas of your life need more focus, creating harmony at that given time.

Women in the workplace

Thanks to Susan Fowler’s post about her experience at Uber, the internet woke up and realised that in 2016, sexism in the workplace exists!

Her contribution to the larger conversation only scratched the surface of the discrimination that women face in the workplace.

Our Digital Strategist, Jess, talked about some of her own personal experiences such as:

  • Being told to smile more, wear dresses and act like a conventional female (whatever that is)
  • Being told she is funny or smart for a woman
  • Being ignored in a client meeting, whilst only her male colleague is addressed

In saying that, this isn’t a expected behavioural trait from any company but it does happen from time to time. There are so many agencies in Perth that give women amazing opportunities to run the show.

As Josh mentioned in the episode, the hardest thing a company can do is to recognise the existence of sexism and to actively make a change.

Actions always speak louder than words.

This is obviously part of a much larger topic, but the main takeaway from this is that everyone should be treated equally.

The focus should always be on the quality of work and contribution to the team, and any workplace should address these issues head on, rather than pretending they don't exist. 

Arguing vs discussions

The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Part 3, Principle 1

In Dale Carnegie’s book, he talks about how arguing has no positive outcome, especially if one is hell-bent (not exactly his words) on getting their way and proving themselves right, therefore proving the other person wrong. In that case, we’re not really an advocate of going in for the kill especially if it is going to change the relationship between team members after the argument is fought. There may be a victor, but there are no winners.

There’s a difference between an argument and a debate, especially if the point of the debate is to discover the better way of doing something, so that the team can benefit as a whole. It’s ok to disagree with someone, but make sure you’re also considering their points of view.

Constructive criticism

Don’t criticise, condemn, or complain.
Part 1, Principle 1

Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. 
Part 4, Principle 2

Both of these principles from Carnegie’s book tie in together nicely. While we agreed about not criticising, we didn’t exactly agree with indirectly calling attention to people’s mistakes. As employees, we’d much rather our mistakes being pointed out directly, followed up with a “because”, to leave room for feedback which we could actually use to make our work better or improve our behavioural issues (that may or may not be a joke).

This may or may not be surprising, but being passive-aggressive doesn’t seem to work with a lot of people. We dare you to Google Passive-Aggressive in the workplace and come back here in 5 years when you’re done reading it all. To be fair, Carnegie was suggesting to starting off with a positive comment before delivering the death knell of negative feedback, which we also like to call criticism.

Criticism is a one-way line of communication, without offering any follow-up pointers for improvement with product or person. It shows a clear lack of understanding and can cause resentment. Constructive criticism, which is probably just a nice way of saying “giving feedback”, is a two-way line of communication because it opens up the discussion about the best way to do something.

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