Category Archives: Happy At Work

How to be happy at work

Everyone deserves a happy career. Here’s how to get it.

Time and again, we see a bell-curve response to surveys on workplace happiness – 20% engaged and happy, 20% disengaged, 60% in the ‘so-so’ zone.

Why don’t people pay a little more attention (and a whole lot more respect!) to their own happiness – and what happens when they do?

In this hilarious talk from the 2017 International Conference on Happiness at Work in Copenhagen Irish career expert Rowan Manahan will show you how to use happiness at work as a career advantage. Because the science is clear: While success is no guarantee of happiness, people who love their jobs are more productive, innovative and motivated and ultimately more successful in their careers and in life.

Help me name my next book

I need a great title for my next book on Leading with Happiness.

The book explains why and how leaders should lead in a way that improves happiness for themselves, employees, customers and the world. Read more about it here.

So far I’ve just been calling the book Leading with Happiness (and that kinda works) but maybe there’s a better, more eye catching and more fun title out there?

As you know, business books tend to to have a title and a subtitle. Here are some titles I really like:

  • Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for your People like Family
  • The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized workplace and surviving one that isn’t
  • The Customer Comes Second: Put your People First and Watch’em Kick Butt
  • The Lazy Way to Success: How to do Nothing and Accomplish Everything

The title itself is short and inspiring and the subtitle explains what the book is about.

So please give me your best ideas for a book title in a comment below.

Why Ping-Pong Tables Wont Make Your Employees Happy – And What Will

In this animated interview Olivier Larvoir and I talk about:

  • Which company recently installed a slide in the office to make it a ‘happier’ place to work (#facepalm)
  • Why your employees don’t want free coffee, ping pong tables and away days – and what they DO want
  • How to attract the best talent without writing a job ad or hiring a recruitment agency
  • What happiest places work all do that you can implement today (think: Google, Zappos, Southwest Airlines)
  • The one word most leaders are scared to say but is the key to better productivity (hint: it isn’t ‘motivation’)

Ben Zander on Leading with Happiness

I interviewed the legendary conductor Ben Zander for my next book on Leading with Happiness and here is one of my favorite quotes of his:

Doing well in the stock market, or satisfying the shareholders is a natural byproduct of an effective business. And what makes an effective business is the same thing that makes an effective orchestra: People who want to be there, who give everything they have, who are having a wonderful time doing it, whose eyes are shining, who are giving out energy to people around them.

Show investors that you care about more than just profits

I found this researching my next book, Leading with Happiness.

At the 2008 Southwest Airlines Shareholders’ Meeting, CEO Gary Kelly ended his presentation with this wonderful story.

February the 27th we had flight number 1218 preparing for departure from Dallas to Las Vegas via Austin and as the customers were taking their seats our Dallas flight attendant Robin Hopkins was approached by a customer who I’ll refer to as Janice.

Janice was asking for help with her cellphone and she didn’t know how to turn it off. Robin assisted Janice but asked if she was okay because Robin can tell that she had been crying. Janice answered that she was on her way to Las Vegas to identify her only son at the medical examiner’s office.

Upon hearing this Robin informed the two other flight attendants Melissa Smith and Lisa Christian as to what was going on and our flight attendants comforted Janice.

Melissa and Lisa handled the entire flight from Austin to Las Vegas while Robin sat with Janice and she learned about her son and she was there to provide comfort. They talked for the rest of the flight.
When they landed in Las Vegas Candace Robinson and Brandy Fuller who are Las Vegas in-flight supervisors met Janice at the gate and they took over. Brandy handled all of her immediate needs while Candace went on to get her own car to drive Janice. Candace was also able to secure a hotel room next to the funeral home.

There was no one there for Janice except for Southwest Airlines people and this is just one powerful example of our people in action and it happens hundreds of times every single day and most of which we never hear about. But they don’t do it for the recognition, they don’t do it for the money. They do it because they care and at Southwest Airlines we are blessed to find and to hire and to keep people who care.

I don’t know if you can teach people how to care but you can’t encourage it you can support it and when you know about it you can certainly recognize it.

This is amazing story and I love the fact that the CEO told it at the shareholders’ meeting. This clearly shows investors where Southwest’s priorities are and that they can expect the company to continue to treat its employees and customers well.

How to succeed in business if you’re not a morning person

Work has moved from cow to computer, but workplaces still favour early risers and an industrial-age view of productivity.

Camilla Kring has a PhD in Work-Life Balance and as owner of Super Navigators, makes workplaces happier by increasing the Work-Life Balance of their employees. She is specialized in creating flexible work cultures that support our differences in family forms, work forms and biological rhythms.

This is her talk from the International Conference on Happiness at Work 2017 in Copenhagen. Flexibility is among the keys to well-being, and management must have the courage to address the flexibility of their company’s work culture because culture determines whether employees have the courage to make use of flexibility.

The first step is to set people free from 9-5 and that work is something that only can take place at the office. Work is not a place – it’s an ongoing activity. Second, focus more on results and less on visibility. Third, give people the tools to improve their individual Work-Life Balance.

With Great Talent Comes Great Responsibility – how goals and KPIs demotivate the best employees

More and more workplaces want to measure everything. KPIs, scorecards and performance goals are supposed to motivate employees and help increase their productivity. But is that really a good way to motivate employees and makes them happy?

Helle Hein has a ph.d. in management and has done research on motivation for the past 20 years.

Her research shows that many people are not motivated by metrics and bonuses but by something more meaningful – a professional calling or a cause that matters deeply to them. Leading these people based only on performance measures and financial rewards leads to frustration and a huge loss of talent and motivation.

In this talk from the International Conference on Happiness at work 2017 in Copenhagen she will show you how your organization can get the most out of its most talented employees, what really motivates people (no, it’s not bonuses) and how to make sure that people feel that their work really matters to them.

If someone you care about is thinking about quitting a terrible job, support them

This is the ultimate cost of not quitting a job you hate: A British teenage apprentice car mechanic killed himself after being bullied by coworkers:

On one occasion, the young man said his colleagues had locked him in a cage at the garage by force, doused him in a flammable liquid and set fire to his clothes.

His father told the inquest that the evening before his death, George had been pacing around the house, saying “I have to quit, I can’t go back there” over and over again.

Having told his son not to resign from his job and that things would get better, Mr Cheese said he now realised how “ridiculous” this response was.

First of all, the workplace should be held legally responsible for letting that kind of behavior happen. The supervisor even knew about it:

George’s line manager, Simon Wright, who admitted to playing a number of pranks on George, told the inquest: “I was in the workshop when a prank was played on George and he was set on fire.

“It did not go too far. We knew where to draw the line,” he said.

“It was not bullying.”

Oh yes it was.

The main lesson to take away form this is that if someone you care about is miserable at work and wants to quit, support them.

The correct answer to “I hate my job and want to quit,” is not “You just need to tough it out, things will get better.” The correct answer is “Great idea, how can I help you in that situation.”

Quitting is not an easy choice but sometimes it is the only choice. And the price of not making that choice can be very, very high.

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