The Badass Award and Other Ways to Make Hard Work Enjoyable

Hard work is more rewarding than easy work, but no one can give 100% effort 100% of the time.

How to make hard work enjoyable:

#1. Notice the extra mile.

Hard work has it’s own reward, but it’s more enjoyable when valued colleagues notice.

It’s discouraging to have someone under-value hard work. Don’t say, “It’s not that hard,” when the work’s hard.

Don’t try to encourage people by minimizing their extra mile.

#2. Choose the right time to encourage.

At the beginning of hard work, notice how far you’ve come. Toward the end of hard work, notice how far you have to go. (When, by Daniel Pink)

#3. Honor the achievement of milestones.

A pat on the back makes hard work enjoyable. “You worked really hard to reach this week’s goal.”

Don’t let a pat on the back be an excuse to sit on your butt.

#4. Don’t hover. Stay available.

Show up to notice progress and offer help.

During a recent coaching conversation, *Jimmy said that offering help means discussing options and working toward creative solutions when someone’s stuck.

#5. Explore feelings.

Ask, “How will you feel when you get this tough job done?”

Go deeper than the first response. When a teammate says, “I’ll feel relieved when this job is done,” say, “And how else might you feel?”

Give people an opportunity to talk about feelings of satisfaction, pride, relief, and happiness.

Positive emotion pulls us toward the finish line.

#6. Honor the bad-ass on your team.

Suppose a teammate just finished a sucky job. (One of those jobs that everyone hates, but someone has to do.) Give them a black bad ass hat for the day.

Tell the person who just finished a sucky job that they are the baddest ass in the land.

How might leaders make hard work enjoyable?

*This post is inspired by a recent coaching conversation with Jimmy. Thanks man!