A recent e-mail from a client ended, “I often asked myself, why can I not be satisfied with what I have achieved, or just see my job as a means to earn my living.” My immediate thought was, “because you wouldn’t be you, and you wouldn’t have achieved the success you have.” The client is a senior manager who has built up a very successful business unit within a large organisation.
Keeping that famous life / work balance is tricky and sometimes the balance comes from two equally unbalanced phases - working flat out - and then taking a complete sabbatical. The headmaster at King Edward V11 school recently did that. He has been head for eight years so took an entire term off to travel through the Kruger and other game parks. Sound inviting?
Although driven people sometimes do question themselves, they for the most part thrive on being driven - on the achievements and on creating something just a little better than last time – it makes them happy. And being driven is not stressful if it fits your personality - a laid back life would quickly become boring for them.
I am reading a book called “Happiness at Work. Maximising your psychological capital for success” by Jessica Pryce-Jones. For years I have ‘preached’ that we can create productive, effective businesses with happy, engaged, fulfilled people working in them. What is great about Jessica’s work is that she and her team have conducted really robust research that proves that people who are happy at work are more productive.
The happiest employees focus on their work 78% of the day compared to the unhappiest who focus on what they need to do for only 53% of the time. That means the happiest people put about 60 extra days of work effort into their year.
A very big, proven key to productivity at work is happiness!
She also states, if you are happy at work you get promoted faster, get more support. generate better & more creative ideas, achieve your goals faster, receive superior reviews, are healthier, and many more ...
The book explores many factors that determine how happy we are at work. I maintain that all leader-managers should be managing in such a way as to make it easier for people to enjoy their day at work (and get the job done!). However the book really focuses on what each of us as individuals can do so as to increase our own happiness at work. My work with past clients didn’t use the same structure as Jessica uses but I have seen many people who were so unhappy that they came to me to explore changing jobs and yet ended up finding themselves becoming happier and deciding to stay where they were!
As an individual are you happy in your work? And if not consider changing that. Life is too short to waste it being unhappy.
If you are a leader-manager do you know how to manage so that your team are productive and creative, and happy?