If you make happiness your default state, both for yourself and your team, work will be a lot more fun—and surprisingly empowering. You and your team members can do plenty of things to elevate your collective mood, not least taking pride in your work and your organization. Implementing that sort of pride and bonding among your team members should be one of your chief goals as a leader. In this article, though, I'll leave that as an exercise for the student and focus on maintaining the fun.
Keeping the fun going all year round isn't just about cool perks and team solidarity. You also have to surround yourself with things that boost your mood—not just team slogans and awards—but other people and practices that help the individual team members prosper by association. In the famous words of Bobby McFerrin: "Don't worry—be happy."
One thing you can do to keep things fun is to hang around with happy people, and bask in the good vibrations they emit. Those vibes may also rub off on you, so you go on to not only enjoy your day, but to help your teammates enjoy theirs just a little more. Happy sales people tend to be productive sales people, because buyers appreciate an upbeat, enthusiastic presenter, who truly enjoys what he or she does—and that enjoyment results in greater sales. The best thing? Happiness and high productivity feed off each other to produce more of each.
Another way to boost happiness and keep your team sane is to let them decorate their workspaces, as long as they don't get out of hand. A few cartoons, baby pictures, or photo calendars can boost the mood. Toys like koosh balls can ease frustration or burn off nervous energy. Vacation souvenirs make great talking points with coworkers. In my own office, I have an "I love me” wall, where I hang my awards, diplomas, and certifications. I also stick colored dots on a large wall calendar to remind myself that I have to fill it with work to support my family, as well as personal time off for a balance life.
We all have days when everything seems to go wrong, from spilling coffee on the keyboard, to running late, to having some someone ding the door of your brand new car in the parking lot. Things will inevitably go wrong, and you can't allow them to give you heartburn or a headache. No matter how annoying, it is what it is, so fix it, move on, and don’t stew about it all day.
Years ago, one of my seminar attendees told me about an engineer who supervised the construction of a tower 130 feet high—only to have it fall over the minute it was completely erect. While the engineer cussed the air blue, his colleague started laughing his head off. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh, and it wasn't long before the engineer saw the point and joined him. They were going to have to start over anyway, so what was the point of being upset? They all needed the laugh before going back to work. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine—and no matter the situation, it can be a real energy booster.
So don't worry—be happy! It's a lot more fun than frustration and gloom.
Laura Stack, MBA, Certified Speaking Professional, is America’s Premier Expert in Productivity™. For over 20 years, her talks have helped professionals, leaders, and teams execute more efficiently. Her company, The Productivity Pro, Inc., provides productivity workshops around the globe to help attendees achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. Her newest book, Execution IS the Strategy, hits bookstores in spring 2014. Laura has been featured by the CBS Early Show, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Connect at http://www.theproductivitypro.com/; http://www.facebook.com/productivitypro; or @laurastack.
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