You can make a happy person into a good worker, but not necessarily the other way around.
—Gordon Segal, founder, Crate & Barrel
We have a healthy suspicion that some of you might be muttering things under your breath like, “Let’s dispense with all this idealistic ‘happy-go-lucky’ stuff. My employees are what they are. Some of them enjoy working here and give every appearance of being energized by their work, and others don’t. They’re just not contentable, and I don’t see that changing!” You could well be right.
Let’s clarify something. The job of “morale maintenance” in your organization doesn’t rest entirely on your—or management’s—shoulders. In fact, we agree wholeheartedly with noted organizational change consultant Price Pritchett, who admonishes us in his book, New Habits for a Radically Changing World, that we must “manage our own morale.” Nobody should have to handhold their workforce until they “feel good about things.” Indeed, each of us is responsible for our own happiness. But we think you’ll produce better results in a classic struggle between principle and pragmatism if—as an influencer of organizational culture and practices—you take reasonable steps that are well within your grasp to promote workplace satisfaction. And you should do it because it’s in your own best interest.
As noted in Jeb Blount’s wonderful book, People Follow You, “Leadership can be loosely defined as a process of organizing, inspiring, ...