The Role of Positive Leadership in Creating a Healthy Workplace

Creating a Healthy Workplace
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

A healthy work environment can mean many things. These days, it’s important that employees can thrive mentally and emotionally, and positive leadership can help foster an all-around healthy workplace.

What is Positive Leadership?

There are various types of leadership styles, and positive leadership is the style that focuses on creating a motivating and engaging work environment. Positive leaders try to inspire their teams and build a culture of trust and collaboration. Open communication should be encouraged by positive leaders, and they should support and help their teams grow. This leadership style can be summed up as influencing positive emotions to make employees want to excel in their work.

There are four P’s of positive leadership: Psychological safety, purpose, path, and progress. 

Psychological Safety

Psychological safety can be achieved through creating an environment where employees feel comfortable being themselves, sharing ideas, and taking risks. Team members should not fear embarrassment or being in trouble just for putting in effort and trying new things. Fostering trust and open communication will lead to psychological safety, which is vital for a team’s success.


To set a good example for their team, a positive leader must show purpose by communicating a clear and compelling vision. Having a strong company purpose motivates employees to work towards a shared goal.


Once a clear purpose is articulated, a path to that purpose must be provided. Positive leaders should give their team the resources and guidance needed to reach their goals and succeed. A roadmap is one way to provide employees with a clear growth plan and communicate the road to success.


It’s important for leaders to continuously recognize and celebrate their team’s progress. Acknowledging the achievements and growth of your employees is a great way to boost morale and spread positivity.

The Impact on Workplace Safety

One of the ways that positive leadership plays a role in creating a healthy work environment is through safety. Workplace safety should not just be a compliance requirement. When safety is an ingrained aspect of company culture, employees are encouraged to follow the best health and safety practices. It’s essential that employees know that their employer cares about their well-being, and a positive leadership style can achieve that.

Safety as a Core Value

Positive leaders prioritize safety as a core value of their company. By conveying the importance of safety through their actions, leaders can demonstrate how much their company values employee health. For example, employees should not be afraid to call out sick. They should know that their manager wants the best for their health and will be understanding.

Open Communication

Employees need to feel comfortable communicating with management, such as reporting safety issues they encounter. Conversely, leaders should be transparent with any safety-related information that employees should know. A positive leader should make sure their teams know about any hazards as well as what wellness programs are available to them, for example.

For example, many news stories over recent years have reported that Amazon warehouse employees are getting injured at an alarmingly high rate due to quota demands. Not only that, but employees have also allegedly been told to continue working through their injury and not seek medical care. This is an example of how poor leadership discourages workplace safety.


It’s important for leaders to encourage their employees to get involved in safety programs at work. If management brushes off safety programs as not necessary, they are not exuding positive leadership. Empowering employees to feel comfortable making safety suggestions or participating in wellness programs is a key part of using positive leadership to build a healthy work environment.

Leading by Example

Positive leaders should make sure to follow safety protocols in order to lead by example. This could mean wearing safety equipment, setting up ergonomic workspaces, or actively participating in safety training meetings.

It’s also essential that leaders promote a culture of continuous learning when it comes to safety. Companies need to stay up to date on the best safety practices and provide ongoing training, which can be encouraged by positive leadership.

The Connection Between Well-Being and Safety

Positive leadership doesn’t just enhance physical safety, it also contributes to emotional and mental well-being. A workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and psychologically safe is more likely to have fewer workplace accidents and injuries. Here are some of the ways that a safe work environment can lead to the overall well-being of employees.

Reduced Stress: Positive leaders can cultivate a low-stress work environment by making sure their team feels emotionally supported and has a healthy work-life balance. Reduced stress also leads to better concentration and therefore a safer environment.

Increased Engagement: Engaged employees tend to be more focused on their work, and positive leadership can encourage this by acknowledging employee achievements. When employees feel their good work is being recognized, it can increase their engagement in all aspects of work, including safety awareness.

Employee Well-Being Programs: Wellness programs are an excellent way to show employees that leadership cares about their well-being. These programs can include a variety of health-related perks such as mental health support, stress management help, and stipends for gym memberships.

The Ripple Effect of Positive Leadership

One positive leader isn’t enough to create a safe and positive work environment. Positive leaders can lead by example, but it will need to be replicated by other levels of management, departments such as Human Resources, and employees. By using positive leadership, however, leaders can create a ripple effect that spreads and encourages others at the company to model these behaviors. This collective effort contributes to a culture of health and safety.

Employees are beginning to ask more of their employers, and rightfully so. No one should feel like they are stuck in an unsafe work environment with no way to make improvements. Companies must now adapt and realize that wellness and safety in the workplace are not optional. 

HR’s Role

As the department in charge of company policies, Human Resources plays a role in all of this. HR professionals must ensure that leadership practices align with the well-being and safety of employees. Policies and practices must be in place that integrate all of these pieces of the puzzle. As the department that handles things like sick time and ADA accommodations, it is vital that HR is included in all leadership decisions that relate to health and safety. Doing this can have a profound impact on creating a healthy workplace.

One reason that HR professionals play such a pivotal part in promoting positive leadership is because they’re in charge of hiring. During the recruitment and selection process, HR can identify candidates who exhibit leadership qualities that align with the company’s values. Once these candidates are hired, HR continues to play a role through positive conflict resolution, collecting feedback, and establishing performance management systems.

Leaders in the company will need to work closely with Human Resources to continue establishing and reinforcing the organization’s values, culture, and principles. If they can be integrated into everyday work practices, they will spread throughout the company.

When it comes to health and well-being in the workplace, there are more legal considerations than you may think. Upholding laws that relate to discrimination, harassment, equal pay, and whistleblower protection all play a role in creating a positive environment. Employees want to know that their rights are being respected, which can be reinforced by both HR and management through positive leadership.

Laws that Protect Employees

There are many federal laws in place that protect employees in the United States, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It covers hiring, firing, promotions, and other employment practices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the entity that oversees workplace laws. Additional laws that the EEOC enforces include The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and The Equal Pay Act. There are even more laws that protect pregnant employees, prevent age discrimination, and more.

Being aware of these laws and working to enforce them in the workplace is an important part of being a positive leader. No employee should feel harassed or discriminated against at their job, and they should feel safe reporting this type of behavior.

Safety in the Workplace

Workplace safety is not optional – it is federally regulated. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees workplace safety for all companies in America, and issues fines for violations they find. This process, however, is not the best way to ensure safety in the workplace. Ideally, a positive leader will make sure their company doesn’t get to the point of OSHA violations, by encouraging safe practices at all times. If a leader cares about a safe work environment and encourages their employees to do the same, they won’t need to wait for OSHA to intervene.

How is Positive Leadership Measured?

There are a few ways to assess positive leadership within a company. Some aspects of the workplace can serve as reflections of a good leader, and there are also more concrete methods of measuring success.

Reflections of a Positive Leader

Below are some of the ways that being a positive leader is reflected.

  • Ethical and Values-Based Leadership: A good leader demonstrates a strong commitment to ethical standards and values, setting a moral compass for the organization and inspiring trust among team members.
  • Innovation and Adaptability: Effective leaders foster a culture of innovation and adaptability, encouraging creative problem-solving and the ability to pivot in response to changing market conditions.
  • Crisis Management: Strong leaders excel in crisis management, remaining composed and making well-informed decisions during challenging situations, thereby ensuring the organization’s resilience.
  • Community Impact: A leader’s influence extends beyond the organization, impacting the community or industry through activities like community engagement, philanthropy, or thought leadership.
  • Long-Term Impact: Leaders who leave a lasting legacy contribute to the organization’s culture, growth, and reputation, leaving a positive mark that endures over time.
  • Leadership Development Programs: Effective leaders invest in leadership development programs, ensuring the organization has a continuous pipeline of skilled leaders, and fostering growth and sustainability.

Methods to Measure Positive Leadership Impact

When it comes to measuring the impact of a positive leader, here are some of the concrete ways to gather data.

  • Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Through surveys, leaders can gauge employee contentment and engagement, allowing them to make adjustments that enhance the work environment.
  • 360-Degree Feedback: Collecting feedback from various perspectives, such as peers, subordinates, and superiors, provides a holistic view of a leader’s performance and areas for improvement.
  • Employee Turnover: Low turnover rates indicate that leaders are effective in retaining talent and creating a positive work atmosphere.
  • Productivity and Performance Metrics: Monitoring key performance indicators offers objective data on a leader’s impact on productivity and performance within the organization.
  • Employee Retention: Measuring how long employees stay within the organization helps assess the influence of leadership on staff loyalty and commitment.
  • Leadership Assessments: Leadership assessments provide a structured approach to evaluating a leader’s skills, competencies, and areas for development.
  • Peer and Subordinate Reviews: Gathering feedback from peers and subordinates offers insights into how a leader is perceived and the effectiveness of their leadership style.
  • Client and Customer Feedback: Assessing client or customer feedback helps determine a leader’s impact on client satisfaction and the quality of services provided.
  • Peer Comparisons: Comparing a leader’s performance to industry peers provides context for evaluating their effectiveness and identifying opportunities for improvement.
  • Ethical Conduct and Compliance: Ensuring that leaders uphold ethical standards and comply with regulations is essential, especially in industries like law where ethics and compliance are critical aspects of leadership.

Spread Positivity

The impact of a positive leader on the well-being of employees and the overall health of the workplace cannot be overstated. Their ability to inspire, uplift, and create a sense of purpose transforms the daily grind into a collective journey toward success. In this way, positive leaders not only drive individual and team excellence but also cultivate a culture of well-being, resilience, and innovation—proof to creating a truly healthy workplace.

Author Bio

Sharon Feldman is a California-based writer specializing in workplace health and safety topics. She works closely with law firm DiMarco Araujo Montevideo, who specializes in work injury cases. When not reading or writing about workplace safety, Sharon can be found at the beach with her dog Noodles.

The content published on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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