How to Energize Your Organization
The four elements of unhappiness are helplessness, paralysis, isolation, and insignificance.
You can’t feel happy and feel like you don’t matter.
Successful leaders energize. Happiness is energy.
Success always includes making someone feel happy.
How do teams find energy?
Happiness feels like:
- Control: Belief that choices are available and personal decisions impact direction and destination. Feeling powerful is acting upon rather than being acted upon.
- Progress: Next steps are available, clear, and actionable.
- Connectedness: Relationships that feel trustworthy, supportive, energizing, and challenging.
- Purpose: Engagement with something that matters.
Successful leaders create frameworks where people feel in control, take next steps, build connections, and do what matters.
If you want to lead a happy organization make people feel powerful.
Successful leaders make people feel powerful by giving control not taking it. Rather than imposing demands, commit to shared values and vision, agree on best practices, then release.
Behaviors apart from shared values are burdens.
If you want to lead an unhappy organization focus on “can’t do” and “won’t work.”
Successful leaders identify next steps toward clearly defined success.
You can’t be happy and feel lost at the same time.
Create progress by establishing achievable milestones. If you want to achieve a big goal, complete lots of little goals.
A small win today is better than a big win next week. (As long as there’s a series of small wins along the path.)
Successful leaders ask:
- How did we win yesterday?
- How are we winning today?
- How will we win tomorrow?
Warning: Exhaustion and unhappiness are bedfellows.
Get on their team before asking them to commit to yours. Make people feel they aren’t alone.
- Understand their goals and values.
- Do more than work. Have fun.
- Listen without judging.
- Celebrate strengths.
- Acknowledge progress.
Do stuff that matters.
How can leaders move teams and organizations toward happiness?
How would you help people feel in control, progress, connectedness, and/or purpose?
We were just talking about this yesterday, thanks for sharing
Thanks Phil. Best for the journey.
Such an important list. I’m a big believer that a vital part of the leader’s job is inspiring connection… to the vision, to possibilities, to the progress, to the person themselves (helping people look inside) and to one another. Connection matters.
Thanks Karin. I like how you expand the term connection to go beyond relationships with people.
You can be unhappy without being those things. Dismissed!
Thanks mjj. A comprehensive list of reasons we are unhappy would exceed 300 words. Feel free to add.
I think you missed the point of the article, it wasn’t about what makes people unhappy, it was suggests to a leader to help their employees feel more engaged and hence happier.
Like that one movie?
The point is not a touchy feely organizational hippie drum circle, but rather a sense of empowerment, increased morale, a desire to produce effectively, a passion for the shared mission of the organization. An engaged, involved, invested person is a satisfied productive person and of course this is desirable to managers, leaders and organizations.
The passion I’ve seen and felt when being wholly engaged in helping forge the path of my organization has been and continues to be an inspiration; a driving force that I would be hard pressed to duplicate while alienating colleagues, employees, peers. This is an important post because too many people are miserable and that creates the kind of mess (Ackoff, 1999) that can destroy an organization.
You are right Dan. You need to make people feel powerful in order to create happiness. People need autonomy to think and express their ideas. They need support and encouragement what they think. When managers appreciate their idea, it is more likely to be repeated. Ideas or opinion not appreciated or recognized is less likely to be repeated. It is human tendency to seek respect. Organisations, meeting this psychological expectation are in better position to understand and regulate workplace dynamics in organisational favor. We need to understand the basis concept- organisations are made by people. In other words, when people own goals and organisations, they contribute towards building organisations.
When you listen to people, you will come to know many things what they feel and how they can best be utilized for the organisations. Problem escalates when policies are expected to get everything without relations. Polices are necessary but relations are even more necessary. Leaders need to take bottom up approach in building the organisation. It will be more powerful.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. As you know, I often mention one key idea that resonates with me from your comments. Today it’s “It is human tendency to seek respect.” The opportunity of leadership is extending respect to others rather than seeking it from them.
Dr. Gupta, you always have insightful comments; you must be a pleasure to work with.
Your idea of humans naturally seeking respect is a lovely philosophical ideal, and I would agree insofar as people at least seek validation; they need to know that their work is understood, appreciated and valuable.
Great post. Thank you for the insight
If an employer hires all employees for their competence, cultural fit, and job talent, then the organization will be energized.
Thanks Bob. “Get the right people on the bus.” It always helps to have the culture we desire. 🙂
Great piece, thanks.
Thanks Even. Best for the journey.
All that is most excellent, as usual.
But there is also the opposite — so many things already firmly exist in organizations that are DIS-energizing and are hard, really really hard, to deal with. A simple approach is to identify what those things are and then REMOVE THEM. (I call the process Dis-Un-Engagement).
If people feel roadblocked, remove the perceived (and actual) roadblocks.
Look for the negative, simply to allow teams to deal with it. That is empowering and engaging, in reality.
You cannot motivate people, but you can remove the things that are de-motivational.
Great post! We have to do our best as leaders to find out what is important to the people that are under our wing.
Thanks Bryant. (YOur comment got tucked under Stotts)
We have to get out of ourselves so we can focus on others.
Thanks Dr. Scott. Sometimes if we just keep doing the good work and stop doing the negative stuff we take a leap forward. Powerful.
Excellent post! Thank you.
Each starting point of an activity is the “Positive Energy”! I hope so …
Hy Dan – always like expected inspiration here.
One thought I got first …
“Why always the same are essential (material), if it can be done personally!” 🙂
People act often with people like they are things …
A distance is – strange, but normal?
often a distance you can feel – empathy needed!
Joy can only feel, which is more or less pleased with himself. Who is in the midst
– lives easier energy and can tell they also – and share (to pass on) – and be inspiring.
Perhaps therein lies a message!
Harmony and friendly cooperation also depends on the appreciation, I think.
Best greetings Beate
There was never any more inception than there is now.
Walter „Walt“ Whitman (1819-1992), amerik. Dichter
Interesting – we live only once – doing things like they have nothing to do with ourself
– make this sense?
Humanity – is a way of getting deeper and wiser in Life. 😉
This is a great post and great comments from all around.
An organisation can have excellent rules and policies and if employees are not passionate with their work the result is not excellent and only mediocre.Passion equipped with competence and skills will bring an organisation to being excellent and outstanding.The catch here is to inspire the team to enjoy their work while giving them the hance to articulate their opinins and bad opinions are still opinions and one never knows what will come out of it.Listen to them and then decide with clarity.Good luck guys
“You can’t feel happy and feel like you don’t matter.”
I love that Dan. Reminds me of the story about Mary Kay Ash who said we should always imagine a necklace around someone’s neck with the words on it: “Make me feel important.”
I’m a former psychotherapist and now an executive coach and life coach–my experience continues to tell me that when we make someone feel important, magic happens.
I love that we have a chance to start or end our day on the note that we choose. I have come to learn that the day is full of a balance of our thoughts. The things we thing become the actions we take. I have shared this with several of those who enjoy my books: today is an opportunity for you to take a small step in to a big directions. so too is every morning an opportunity to take a step in to an emotional place because there will always be negative and trials, its how we view those that determine our joy. http://www.terrencejwhite.com
I’m just starting out and the happiness I feel when I’m making my products gives me the confidence that others will love using them, so yes, I think that happiness is a great way to energise people. “Success always includes making someone happy” – love this quote. From a customer experience perspective, I think this is king.