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Accentuate the positive to create an empowered workforce

'You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.' Or so the song goes - but at root, it's a notion that could be used as an effective and encouraging principle of management.

It could be part of an approach to creating a nurturing environment, the kind of place where people enjoy working, feel engaged and give more than they otherwise might.

In a feature with the Business is Great campaign, Andy Wood, CEO of Adnams, stressed how important the positive tack was for the cultural turnaround that was undertaken at the Suffolk brewery about a decade ago.

Rather than asking managers 'to catch people doing things wrong, tell them about it and crush their self-esteem in the process', Dr Wood said that it was 'the role of the leader to catch our people doing extraordinary things'.

He said that his workplace culture was 'empowered, can-do, and about catching people doing the right things'.

He admitted this kind of approach requires confidence in managers, which is why he said Adnams had 'invested significantly in 360-degree appraisal' before they allowed their leaders 'loose on managing other people'.

'We make sure they know themselves first and how they are going to react in different situations when the pressure comes on.'

Dr Wood said that every two years Adnams conducts a staff opinion survey and the leaders are rated on their adherence to company values, their encouragement of new ideas, their approachability and their listening skills. The results are posted publicly on their website.

Acas can help you improve employment relations in your workplace. For example, the The Acas Employee Feedback Survey can help you understand how your employees feel about your organisation, their workload, the way they are supervised, management communications - and many other measure that can have a direct impact on motivation and performance.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you with your Employee appraisal systems, review current schemes and provide training on good practice in how they are managed.

Practical training to develop Skills for supervisors and improve Staff retention is also offered.

For free impartial advice on any issues related to employment relations call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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