Workplace of Hope and Happiness

by  Erin Schreyer  |  Leadership Development

Have you read the headlines lately? Not only are they sad, but they’re often disturbing, frustrating, horrifying and sometimes unfathomable. It’s tough to read the headlines themselves; never mind the details of each story.

The negativity is crazy!!! Heck, poor Gabby Douglas couldn’t even celebrate her Olympic gold medal without spending time defending what her hair looks like. When did it become okay not to celebrate her and her hard work and instead focus on something so opinionated and shallow?

And guess what…the Presidential election campaigning is just getting into full-swing, now that Romney has picked his running mate. Several news agencies are already calling both parties out on having the most negative campaigns in history.

With all the violence, hatred, and “spewing” that seems to be taking the forefront of media and public attention, people are in need of positivity and hope more than ever.

Given that employees are at their workplace five days a week, for likely more than forty hours, wouldn’t it be awesome if it were a place they could come to escape the negativity? Even better, what if their workplace gave them hope? Can you imagine what that might do for people and productivity?

Leaders today should focus on the well-being of their people, their culture, and their workplace environment. Building in more positivity and hope will be worth the effort, as it will help with engagement, loyalty, effectiveness, and efficiency.

How can you do it? Here are 5 strategies that may help:

1. Get clear on purpose and vision, and engage everyone in it. Make sure everyone knows the benefits (not features) of where you’re headed as an organization. Equally, make sure they know how important and connected their particular efforts are to the effort overall.

2. Celebrate milestones along the way. People (all people, every. single. one) enjoy being acknowledged, appreciated, and celebrated. It’s motivating, encouraging, and rewarding. It fuels future performance as well. When goals are met, celebrate the progress and the people who made it happen.

3. Communicate with integrity. Share information – as much as you can. Keep people informed with reality and truthfulness. People feel part of the team when they’re kept in the loop. Only when they’re kept in the dark can they let their minds wander to the worst possible scenarios about you and about the organization.

4. Show you care. Yes, I know it’s a workplace and people are there to do jobs, but guess what? It’s people that are there to do jobs. People need to know you care about them. Be connected, personal, likeable and genuine. Find common ground and seek to understand what their needs are and what they think is most important.

5. Serve. Serve. Serve. And serve some more. Create a culture of service to one another and to your customers. Give people latitude and flexibility to accomplish their service in the best way they see fit. Make examples of “above and beyond” service, and incentivize people to think of and help others. Lead by example here, and make serving your people your number one priority.

Is there something else you would add to the list? If people were happier and more hopeful, do you think it would make a difference? What impact could you see happen?

About The Author

Articles By erin-schreyer
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What People Are Saying

Mike Henry  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Erin, thanks for the reminder and the encouraging post. I think sometimes at least for me, it’s easy to forget that a shared vision is the beginning of the process. We don’t have to share every detail of the vision, but we must find common ground or all the positivity in the world will just seem like an exercise. It’s great that you included that at the top. I agree it starts with a shared vision.

Thanks for the great post! Mike…

Erin Schreyer  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Thanks, Mike! Shares vision and purpose, I believe, are at the heart of purpose and connectedness at work!! It’s an important first step!! Thanks for the encouragement.

John Bossong  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Great information Erin. I like the part about people, workplace and the culture. Great post, keep them coming.

Erin Schreyer  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Thanks, John! I’m grateful for your encouragement!

Christina Haxton, MA LMFT  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Terrific post, Erin. Some people spend more time at work than they do at home (if you don’t count sleeping), so why not make it a place we feel happy, connected and purposeful?

Since you asked, I’d add PLAY! Play recharges our brain, releases endorphins (good brain chemicals) and allows us to be “in the moment” which also opens the door for creativity and innovative thinking …

Simple things we can do in just a few minutes to recharge with play:
1. Hopscotch (chalk is cheap and its fun to see the CEO hop around on one foot)
2. Volleyball (who needs a net? there is another use for baling twine) – indoors over cubicles works, too.
3. Karaoke (without alcohol is just entertaining)
4. An impromptu talent show (remember 7th grade?)
5. Pinball – the good old fashioned noisy pinball machine in the break room (and of course you MUST keep score!)

How do you play at work?

Thanks for the terrific post!

Christina Haxton, MA LMFT
Leadership Speaker, Author & Consultant
Sustainable Leadership, Inc.
log –

Erin Schreyer  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Christina, I LOVE the idea of play at work!! Not only is it fun, but it also helps to breed creativity and innovation, not to mention camaraderie!! Great addition!

Kenneth Baucum  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Thank you for this article. It is both encouraging and inspiring. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading more.

Erin Schreyer  |  21 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Thanks so much, Kenneth! I appreciate your kind words!

Deborah L. Parker  |  22 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Insightful and timely post. Milestones celebrations is on point, particularly it’s so easy to get busy and let little but significant achievements get lost along the way.

Jon Mertz  |  22 Aug 2012  |  Reply

A great reminder on how to rise above the “noise” and lead meaningfully and with character! Keeping purpose front-and-center is vital to do as well as serving. Two real ways to keep centered and focused on what really matters in the workplace and in life.

Thanks, Erin!


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