Leaders Create the Right Environment for a Happier Team

By Jim Smith, PCC, The Executive Happiness Coach ®

Are the members of your team happy? 

Happy, engaged employees are good for any team or organization. Research shows they are more creative, more productive, make better decisions, offer better service, and are more willing to go the extra mile.

What's more, happiness is as contagious as the flu, but it creates a positive vibe that leads to further engagement. To bring more of that into your team, focus on what positive psychologists have identified as the three tiers of happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning.

  • Pleasure is the stuff of the moment.  When you provide donuts on a Friday morning, offer someone a spot bonus, take the team out for a celebration dinner, or offer someone a specific bit of positive feedback for an achievement, you are creating a moment of happiness and connection.  It is important that you, as business owner or leader, create or sponsor such moments, for they let people know you care.
  • Engagement is feeling connected to what one is doing.  While no one argues with more pay, what many people want more is clarity about their role and expectation, the opportunity for growth and learning, and having a voice in decisions.  When you prioritize communication and practice delegation and inclusion, you contribute to this dimension of happiness at work. 
  • Meaning is the deepest level of positive emotion that emerges when a person feels connected to their life mission, or believes that what they are doing is in support of a greater purpose.  Many times there’s little in a job that will connect people to life purpose, yet you as a leader/owner can take time to learn what your people truly value, and support their finding that in their work or life.  As an example, you may have a mom in a clerical role whose life revolves around her family.  The job may never fulfill her, but if you can support her in balancing work with being there for family events, you’ll earn more loyalty from that employee, who will show up more fully for you.

Consider whether you are actively encouraging these things in the people on your team:

  • Do they enjoy their relationships and their environment at work?
  • Do they fill roles that fit their skill sets and offer appropriate challenges?
  • Do they understand where they fit in, and feel they're a part of something that matters?
  • Do they know where they stand?
  • Do they have a voice?
  • Do they laugh and have fun?

If the answer is no to any of these questions, brainstorm how you can adjust the team environment to bring more happiness in. As a leader, you're not responsible for "taking care" of all these things, but you ARE responsible for making sure they are addressed.

Have open conversations, and ask your team what they need to better support their enjoying themselves, feeling connected, and making a difference.

Remember, Leadership is not about a title: Anyone can be a leader who fosters dialogue and a positive workplace environment.

Jim Smith, PCC, is The Executive Happiness Coach ®.  Jim’s passion is to help build a happier world and workplace, one leader at a time.  He supports leaders and business owners through 1:1 coaching, team facilitation for change, and inspirational keynote speaking.  He has coached leaders in 27 countries and on 6 continents to create stronger personal presence, improve confidence, and improve business outcomes.  Contact: Jim@TheExecutiveHappinessCoach.com