“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition.“ – Martha Washington, America’s first First Lady.
Few things are more depressing than working in an environment where the negativity just grinds you down. I suspect most of us have experienced this, and many still do; otherwise, the percentage of engaged workers would be higher. But does unhappiness arise from the job itself, or do the workers bring it with them? If you see work as a penance you must perform to pay the bills, you just might be the latter.
Even if have a horrible job, remember: with few exceptions, you choose where you work. If you can’t find anything else, then decide to rise above your horrible job anyway and thrive rather than die on the vine. How? Appoint yourself the Team Morale Officer (TMO). A great way to make life happier for yourself is to make it happier for others. Happiness is infectious. (click to tweet)
A Healthy Attitude
How do you go about helping the team enjoy work without becoming the “class clown?” Of course, food always helps. Donuts, a cake or pie, fruit, bagels, or cookies always bring appreciative smiles. If you don’t cook, recruit your spouse (assuming he or she has time), or swing by the local Einstein’s. A small investment can yield big happiness dividends.
Otherwise it’s all about attitude—an attitude oriented toward achieving results. Start with a positive outlook, and add a dash of good cheer and a little self-deprecating humor. Encourage your teammates, compliment their strengths, and even act as their cheerleader when they accomplish something noteworthy. Nothing breeds success like celebrating existing success.
A killer way to boost your own attitude is to love your work. It may not come easy, so make a deliberate effort to find things you can get enthusiastic about. Focus on the things that profit you and your team the most: smooth workflow, meeting deadlines, and your critical day-to-day, operational activities.
To keep your energy level high, avoid too much caffeine, hydrate with plenty of water, moderate your diet, exercise regularly, and get the proper amount of sleep every night. Hey, nobody said it would be easy! Try it for a couple weeks and see how your disposition improves. When you feel good, you’ll find it much easier to maintain an optimistic and positive attitude.
Meanwhile, jazz up your cubicle or office. Lighten up common work areas or break spaces. Cartoons, posters (even those corny pseudo-motivational ones), bright colors, silly challenges, jokes, awards—do whatever you think will help people feel better.
You can also arrange milestone celebrations at a local restaurant, like birthdays and company anniversaries, as well as “We Did It!” celebrations when the team finally puts a tough project to bed. Try also to arrange extracurricular social activities, like a billiards or dart tournament at a local club, a bowling team, lunches, or a family visit to the local waterpark.
Good for Productivity
Hey, someone’s gotta take the initiative and do it. Good leaders will officially sanction these morale efforts, because they will see the resulting productivity boost as a result of the team attitudinal boost. If you get to work a bit early or stay a bit late occasionally to support these activities, your happiness boost will be worth it.
© 2015 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling author, and noted authority on employee and team productivity. She is the president of The Productivity Pro, Inc., a company dedicated to helping leaders increase workplace performance in high-stress environments. Stack has authored seven books, including her newest work, Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time (Jan. 2016). She is a past president of the National Speakers Association, and in 2015 was inducted into its exclusive Speaker Hall of Fame (with fewer than 175 members worldwide). Stack’s clients include Cisco Systems, Wal-Mart, and Bank of America, and she has been featured on the CBS Early Show and CNN, and in the New York Times. To have Laura Stack speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401 or visit her website.