I had the wonderful opportunity to lecture at a conference in the Big Apple this past week. This was my seventh visit to N.Y., and I still am in awe when I stand in the middle of Times Square. It is alive with lights and people hurrying from one place to another 24 hours a day.

Since I have never been a city dweller I am amazed with those who are and the fact that they get from place to place either by walking, subway, or train. Many of them do not even own a car.

One of the great things about being invited to speak in different states or countries is the opportunity to listen to other speakers. One speaker, who was also an office manager like me, presented on “Managing attitudes in the office.”

She manages a large office and all of her staff members are women. As I am sure you will agree this fact alone could make her an expert on the topic of attitudes in the office.

She shared that recently her staff were having difficulties getting along. There was gossip, back-biting, and jealousy along with a ring-leader stirring the pot. As soon as she would put out one fire another would start up. The office was becoming quite toxic and this was affecting their ability to work together.

She called a meeting for the entire staff and addressed some of the issues and let them know that they needed to stop. She then asked them one question “what would make our workplace one that you would enjoy and look forward to working at each day?”

Each staff member began stating what they would like in their “perfect” work environment. She wrote the list down until they were all done and everyone agreed that if these ground rules were upheld, they would be very happy. They all liked their job; they just had gotten to a point that they were having problems liking each other.

They typed up their list of rules to keep at their work stations and it was agreed upon that if someone was breaking a rule, it was to be addressed immediately.

I thought this was an excellent way to handle their workplace problems. By letting the staff members come up with ground rules that they all agreed upon 100%, they would all be more accountable and willing to live by them.

So far this has worked out very well for their office and they have created a much better environment that they like coming to each day.

Here are a few of the ground rules that they came up with to make their work environment better for all of them.

1. No gossiping. Do not say anything about someone that you would not say in front of them or would mind them knowing.

2. If you want to go to lunch with just one other work member or a few, then make the arrangements before work, not at work as others feel left out.

3. If you go out socially with other work members leave it outside of the office.

4. If you bring treats or gifts for co-workers to work, bring them for all or do not bring them at all.

5. Treat all co-workers equally; everyone is part of the team.

6. If you have a problem with someone talk directly to them to take care of it right away.

7. Look for the good in each other.

8. Practice the “Golden Rule”

These issues may be what some call “petty,” but they are issues that are very common in workplaces and can be very destructive if not dealt with and resolved.

Does your workplace have “ground rules” to work by to make it a better place for all who work there? If so, please share with us what you have found to make your place of work a better one.