As a leader, manager or executive, what is your driving force in business?
Think about it for a second. What gets you out of bed in the morning and makes you take that drive to work? What is behind the choices you make? How do you set your goals and ambitions?
There are many possible answers. Ask a thousand people and you’ll get a thousand different answers. Money would probably show up quite often. So would power, influence, getting ahead, recognition, security and success.
But I believe that there is one underappreciated driving force in business. One force that spurs people on to stellar results, wise decisions and strong business relationships. One strong force that, when harnessed in your work life, will make you more efficient and let you enjoy work more.
One that all business leaders everywhere need to know about and build into their businesses at the most fundamental level.
Here it is: The strongest driving force in business is happiness! Yes, happiness at work.
I know that work is often seen as a desolate wasteland, a thoroughly unpleasant experience you endure to make a living. Work is tough, darnit, and it should be! If people were enjoying themselves it wouldn’t be work!
But that’s simply wrong. I know, and studies back this up, that people do their best work only when they enjoy what they do. It doesn’t mean we have to love every single aspect of our jobs, but when we like work more than we hate it, we are much more efficient and productive.
There are three major areas where you as a leader can harness this force and use happiness to drive your business and your career.
1: Make your employees happy
Studies consistently show that employees who like their jobs take fewer sick days, stay in their jobs longer, are more productive, give better customer service and do work of a higher quality. In fact, happy employees consistently outperform unhappy employees in every single area you can come up with.
Take a closer look at most business success stories and you’ll find at the root of them a group of people who went to work thinking “MAN, this is great – I cannot believe how much fun it is to work with this team on this project!”
And that’s why all employers and leaders must focus on their people first and make sure they are happy at work.
But doesn’t the customer come first? Sure. And when the company puts the employees first, the employees put the customers first, because happy people naturally give great customer service. Think about it: Who would you rather be served by in a restaurant: The surly waiter who hates his boss and his co-workers or the happy waitress who loves working there?
2: Make your customers happy
What is your goal: To sell as much as possible? To maximize the numbers and meet your sales budget? To upsell every time?
Or is it to make your customers happy?
The latter option is the one that will gain you committed fans for life. Customers who know that you have their best interests at heart and genuinely want what’s good for them will keep coming back for more. You may do a little less business right now, but you’ll do a lot more business in the long run.
Businesses who choose this approach also have the satisfaction of knowing that they’re helping people.
3: Make yourself happy at work
What about you? Do you enjoy your work? Do you whistle happily going to work and going home? Are you doing the things you enjoy doing? Do you like and trust the people around you?
You yourself, as a business leader, need to be happy at work for one simple reason: If you hate your job, it’s going to rub off on every single person there. As a leader you set the tone and people will notice whatever you do. Set an example and make youself happy at work.
And when you do this you will also become more successful. A recent study showed that while success does make people happy, the link is much stronger the other way, meaning that happy people are much more likely to become successful and wealthy. This is not surprising when you think about it, because happy people are more optimistic, energetic, likeable and creative – all essential qualities in business.
The real choice
And this is what some of the best and most profitable companies arounnd the world have realized: That it’s not about sacrificing your business goals and your profits in order to be happy. That in reality, making happiness your driving force in business will make you more profitable.
You don’t have to choose between happiness at work and success – the real choice is this:
Do you want your business to be happy and more successful?
Or unhappy and less successful?
Tough choice, huh :o)
The question is of course: What can I do about it? How can I make myself and other happy at work?
Check back tomorrow for a challenge to all leaders – a simple way to create the fundamentals for happiness at work for yourself and your people.
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