We all want to be happy; however, many struggle with maintaining this state. No truer is this statement than in the workplace where many drudge along and don’t seem to find any positives in their work environment.
Workers want to go to an organization that is relaxed, fun, open, i.e happy. They don’t want to go to a place that is drab and dreary, or no fun.
How can a leader develop a happier workplace culture? While there are many ways, it really has to start at the top. If the leader is not happy, or portrays being that way, it can demotivate workers to even try. People follow a leader who is like them and makes them feel part of the team. Also, a leader who is willing to create a positive work environment will inspire workers to follow.
Here are 5 ways that leaders can create happier workplace cultures:
- Be open – this means being available to your people and showing that you’re open to them. Greet them each morning (by name); ask how they are doing on a project; see if they need help, etc. Have an open-door policy so they trust that you are receptive and welcoming. This creates an open environment which leads to inclusion and happier workers
- Communicate – communication is so crucial in any relationship so be sure you are conveying relevant information and in a timely manner; have regular meetings with them, as a group and individually, to give and gain (yes, get their) feedback on ideas, problem solutions, on improvements needed, as well as letting them know how they are doing in their job. This leads to less confusion on what needs to be done, as well as progress made, all of which leads to happier workers.
- Know your people – get to know your employees on an individual basis, as people with lives outside of work and who have wants and needs to be met. As everything today is ‘how you make me feel,’ being interested in your workers can lead to meeting their needs while building a bond with them, which is what will keep them following your lead. Learn their motivations, the best part of their job, their strengths, their children’s names or favorite sports team – this makes a worker feel special and they feel more satisfied (and happier) with their work.
- Recognition – we all want to be recognized for the work we do, so show your employees how their work contributes to organizational goals, including special talents or skills they’ve shown in that work; say thank you, bring bagels or cookies (food is always appreciated), write them a personal note, recognize them in a meeting – I’m sure you get the picture. It’s not how it’s done – just that it is done, and often. Recognized workers = happier workers.
- Have fun – do team-building exercises; have a pot luck day, where everyone brings a dish in and eats together; have a theme-day, where workers can wear a color or decorate their office/cube to match; plan a contest, such as guess the baby picture or vote on a favorite joke. This can lessen stressful days and give workers something to look forward to each month, all of which creates happier workers.
These five tips have been heard from individuals I’ve met and interviewed so these are valid and highly desired. Changing a culture isn’t always easy, as the human brain can be resistive even to positives. As a leader, start with one or two – get to know your people and their ideas on creating a happier culture, and ask for their ideas and help; ensure you are communicating the intent for doing so, as well as progress on generated ideas so everyone knows what’s going on to get on board. Soon, you can have a culture that is open, relaxed, and happier all of which leads to more devoted workers and a productive and high-performing culture.
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