Human beings are pretty darned complicated.\nOn the one hand, we seem bound by a phenomenon called language positivity bias, or LPB \u2014 in which we\u2019re all more likely to speak positively than we are to use negative language. We\u2019re not sure why, exactly, but it\u2019s heartening to know that we\u2019re fundamentally optimistic animals.\nOn the other hand, 200 years of the written word seem to reveal that the use of positive language is actually on the decline \u2014 a phenomenon pored over by researchers and discussed at length in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.\nYou can come to your own conclusions about the reasons \u2014 be they political, cultural, religious or otherwise. The point is, positivity is essential for civilization to function, including its various microcosms \u2014 such as the workplace.\nWhy is positivity good for business?\nWe\u2019re all familiar by now with the strong relationship between a company\u2019s culture and its financial performance. But \u201cculture\u201d isn\u2019t solid the whole way through \u2014 it\u2019s not some immutable substance. It\u2019s complicated, the way a jigsaw puzzle is complicated.\nOne piece of that puzzle is positivity. Just as company culture helps shape a company, the positivity in your workplace influences culture. It\u2019s kind of the \u201cprime mover\u201d in this equation.\nYes \u2014 a positive company culture is a good thing for any company\u2019s bottom line. And maintaining positivity means engaging with, supporting and motivating employees. Moreover, it means helping them do their jobs in a way that\u2019s personally edifying, rather than merely lucrative.\nIn a study of 95 car dealerships over several years, researchers learned that the businesses ranked highest for positivity by their employees showed better profitability down the road. Performance is a product of culture, rather than the other way around.\nIt\u2019s possible to make a lot of money without a positive company culture, but that\u2019s a house of cards \u2014 not a strong foundation. If you feel there\u2019s a morale problem in your own organization, there are plenty of things you can do to right your course. Here are three.\n1. Assume positive intent\nEver heard of Hanlon\u2019s razor? The phrasing might change from place to place, but the message is always the same: \u201cNever attribute to malice what can be explained by neglect or misunderstanding.\u201d\nAssuming positive intentions is the foundation of trust, as well as positivity. We\u2019ve all worked somewhere at some point in our lives where trust was, shall we say, a precious commodity. Maybe you felt overmanaged, or like management didn\u2019t trust you to accomplish your work without a lot of hand-holding or breathing down your neck.\nTrust shows you believe your co-workers will perform to the best of their abilities. Such a thing is contagious. Proactively trusting your employees likely means they\u2019ll work in a way that\u2019s worthy of that trust. It also means if they\u2019re not performing, it\u2019s more likely that they don\u2019t have the knowledge or the tools they need than it is that they\u2019re deliberately doing inferior work.\nKeep the disciplinary measures in the holster for especially difficult cases, and focus your attention on listening. There are probably several good reasons why employees might be falling short, and few of them have anything to do with willful sabotage.\n2. Help make work more personal\nDo you crawl reluctantly out of bed in the morning, or you do spring to your feet, excited about the challenges that await you? Maybe a little of both.\nLet\u2019s circle back for a moment to the idea of completing \u201cpersonally edifying\u201d work. Gainful employment is part of a social contract \u2014 somebody makes money and then they share some of that money with the people who made it possible. But the culture of a company needs to give back more than a paycheck \u2014 it needs to provide challenges. It needs to be personally relevant, or what\u2019s the point?\nOne of your jobs as a leader is identifying the strengths of your team members and helping them zero in on work that they identify with. They need something they\u2019ll look forward to taking part in when they awaken in the morning. It\u2019s not always going to be a perfect fit, sure, but there needs to be an effort.\nAnd while you\u2019re at it, keep in mind how fundamentally important it is for human beings to be able to approach tasks and challenges in a way they see fit. We all value freedom of expression, and one way we express ourselves lies in how we work. Again, there\u2019s a comfy middle ground, but if you\u2019re reading between the lines, the message is simply don\u2019t micromanage. Everybody works differently, so let them find their own \u201cwork vocabulary.\u201d\n3. Make changes one department at a time\nFinally, don\u2019t paint with a wide brush. Generalizing is dangerous in any setting, but in the workplace, it can be especially damaging to morale.\nEventually, your company will need to make changes \u2014 whether in response to a fluctuating market, company growth or any number of other outside factors. It could be damaging to make sweeping changes to how your company operates in order meet challenges. Each of your departments completes different work, in different ways, and needs to roll with the punches in a way that makes sense for them.\nIf you need to react to external forces, make sure each department has what they need and only make changes that are relevant to the work they do. Making sweeping, companywide alterations to how you do business could cause unnecessary strife. Nothing will cause an employee to disengage from work faster than feeling like a drone receiving a software update.\nHuman beings thrive \u2014 and do their best work \u2014 in environments with mutual respect and positivity, so make them a priority.