Category Archives: A Question For Ya

Help: What book should I write next?

Happy Hour is 9 to 5 by Alexander KjerulfI want to write another book about happiness at work and I have a number of ideas to choose from.

I would love to hear your thoughts – which of these books would give you the most value? Which intrigues you the most?

Leading with happiness
A book on a new kind of leadership that seeks to maximize happiness rather than profits.

Manners for managers
A short book of rules for managers in different situations – to help managers avoid behavior that is simply rude or bad manners.

Quit already
A book on quitting to help everyone who feels stuck in a bad job get the heck out of there.

The happy team
A book on how to create a happy team.

The customer is always right is wrong
How putting employees first helps them put customers first


Some team members resist happiness. What would you do?


I received the following email from a manager who reads my blog and I got his permission to post it here, to get input from all of you. What would you do?

Here’s the email:

I have a team of 10 people doing admin based work. The job can be busy but mundane and this can lower the “fun” factor within the team. I have introduced some nice changes to help their day go better as like you, my philosophy is enjoy coming to work and never be stressed about it.

However, like everyone else I can get stressed but its not the workload, it’s the team that bring me down.

Some ideas, I have introduced are:

  • Listening to music while they work
  • Be flexible with the shifts that they do
  • Let them have their moment where they need to walk away from an issue to calm down without any repercussions.

I could go on and we do the team lunches and have events, but there will still be the people that I can’t make happy.

The big issue I have is motivating all of the team. Some of my team are motivated and up for some fun or keen to get on board with a project but there will be a few that will put up the objection obstacles and flatly refuse to get involved, this can bring others down and ultimately put me down which really affects me.

At times it makes me want to move jobs and try again with a new team.

What would you do, as a manager in this situation? Please write a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A question for ya: When praise goes bad

I’ve been having a discussion recently with a group of people who believe that praising people in the workplace is bad. Among others, they believe that praising others is judgemental and makes the person receiving praise less confident and more stupid.

So here’s my question to you: Do you agree? When is praise bad? What’s the worst example of praise you’ve seen at work? Do you think praise at work is ultimately a good or a bad thing? Why?

Have you ever received negative feedback at work in a very constructive way?

ForbesI was recently interviewed for this Forbes article on how to use negative feedback at work to your advantage.

This got me thinking: How do you prefer to receive negative feedback at work? Can you think of a specific instance where someone criticised you in a way that was constructive and helpful? How did they do it? How did you react? Why did it work?

Or conversely, have you ever received negative feedback at work that was not at all helpful? What made it bad and how could it have been delivered better?

Please write a comment, I’d love to hear your story.

Know any happy leaders or workplaces in South Africa?

Flag_of_South_AfricaI’ve been booked to do a number of speeches about happiness at work in South Africa in March. I’ll be in Johannesburg from March 3-6 and Cape Town from March 6-9.

I’m currently working on a book of interviews with the world’s happiest leaders. These can be in business, arts, sports, politics, academia, etc.

Do you know of any South African leaders or workplaces who are obviously committed to creating happiness?

A question for ya: New boss gets the cold shoulder

I’ve written a lot about bad bosses and what you should do if you work for one – but sometimes it’s the other way around.

I recently got this email from a reader:

Dear Alexander,

I hope you don’t mind me off-loading on you, but I could really do with your advice.

I have just started a new job as the Director of a department that has undergone significant restructuring. I do not have a predecessor as my role is brand new. However, I have inherited a team of 4, all older than me, with clear loyalties to the person who did a similar role before and left in very unpleasant circumstances.

She had about 50% of my role, but only managed 2 of them. I am now responsible for the over-seeing of all 4 posts. The office that previously was independent is my biggest challenge. I am being given the complete cold shoulder. They don’t speak to me, make conversation, keep me informed and trying to get information from them is like trying to get blood from a stone.

There are 3 women and 1 man. I am a woman, and my problems are with the women!

What can I do? I feel miserable and scared I won’t be able to perform. I have the feeling I’m being set up for failure…

I would really appreciate your advice.

Interesting question and something I’m sure a lot of new managers face. What would you do?