The Feelgood Manager

Happy Employees

A few weeks ago my wife sent me a blog entry titled “The Feelgood Manager: Is ensuring workplace happiness a full-time job?” I added it to my growing collection of bookmarks fully aware that I had become a terrible pack-rat of unread articles and websites.

Despite this tendency there was something in this title that captivated me. I kept thinking about it…feelgood manager. It sounded cool, maybe this was the future of the “enlightened” workplace we so badly need, or perhaps it was just another trendy gimmick to gloss over the real issues.

I finally got to the article yesterday on the subway during the morning commute. Surrounded by worn-out bodies and focused on my smartphone, I wondered if there was a feelgood manager on the train that day. I looked up briefly, the scene of a zombie movie came to mind and a question arose: Could the feelgood manager perform a miracle and raise the dead?

As a workplace consultant, I am always surprised that there is universal acceptance of the fact that a happy employee is a productive employee but despite the quorum on this issue, organizations have generally been slow in building environments that allow for employees to thrive. Current statistics show a sad state of affairs when it comes to employee engagement, loyalty, morale and ultimately, productivity—and this really doesn’t have to be the case.

The latest science shows us that the #1 cause for happiness is simply the fostering of good relationships between us. This is the foundation for trust, empathy, camaraderie, collaboration and teamwork, which in turn brings stability, sustainability and productivity. Good workplace relationships is the new gold standard for organizations and a new awareness is emerging from the recognition that good relations between employees is a prerequisite for corporate success and profitability.

By the time the train rolled up to Museum station, I had finished the article and felt inspired. We are living in times of great change; a happy organizational culture is no longer a “soft” issue overlooked by CEOs. Quite the opposite, it is becoming a measurable and quantifiable concept, which if done correctly, gives a company that sustainable competitive advantage that cannot be duplicated.

This was my station, and as I headed to a meeting with a potential client I let myself dream a little and wondered what the future of work will be like when happiness rather than (or at least as well as) financial growth becomes the measurement for success…