How many of your employees wake up in the morning, smile and say, “I can’t wait to go to work today!”? Do you believe the common stereotype that work is drudgery, dullness, and “oh my aching back?” Is the concept that joy and work can coexist true or is it an oxymoron?
Today we will explore the connection between work and joy. We will explore how employees get personal benefit from their work. We will build the leadership rationale that when a company creates employees who are excited about work they create employees who are motivated to do their best.
How would your employees answer the question, “Who do you work for?”
When they think about it carefully, employees will give two answers to this question.
First, we always work for ourselves. In fact our employer pays us to work for ourselves.
Some stop at this point. Employees who view work as a means to a financial end may not see any intrinsic value in work, seeing only the connection between wages and their needs. Employees who seek challenge and personal growth understand the larger picture more clearly.
Second, work is a blessing, not a burden; a joy not drudgery, especially when it is goal directed.
We know what personal accomplishments, such as reaching a sales level or earning a promotion, we want from a job. We will spend a lot of time and energy in our job to earn these.
When we set specific personal goals that we want to achieve, we will structure our work time for our benefit. When work is goal directed we are in full control. By goal directed I mean working towards clearly defined personal goals. When we set challenging goals and discipline ourselves to work towards them we can accomplish anything we desire. If we let events control us, we probably won’t achieve much personal benefit.
People who understand that they work for themselves and structure their day for their own rewards realize substantial benefits.
1. Work structures time.
If we don’t have well defined goals, we just float along. Events control us. When we set challenging goals and diligently work towards them, we fill our time with activities that bring positive personal achievement and success.
2. Work increases our energy and capacity to perform.
For example, when we first start an exercise program we tire very easily. After a few weeks we develop increased stamina and strength. We develop a “second wind.”
This principle of “second wind” also works in our professional life. Where once we could only complete two tasks a day we can now complete four or five on a regular basis. We establish new work habits and function on a more effective and successful level.
3. Work offers the opportunity to grow.
Work that is directed towards the fulfillment of our goals provides a reason for doing more and doing it better each day. When we clearly visualize the payoffs we will enjoy from success in work, the activities of the profession cease to be meaningless. They become a labor of love – a game – a fascinating adventure. We reach for a higher plateau each day.
4. Work brings the thrill of the chase.
When we learn the joy of work, success comes as the culmination of a game, not as the end of a battle. Each day is exciting. Every day brings progressively larger and more intense rewards as we move toward the full realization of long-term goals.
Effective leaders understand that successful people build successful organizations. They always seek employees who strive for personal success and understand that their work environment holds great opportunity to gain success.
This concept is disquieting to many executives. They may feel that if people believe that work is for their benefit then the company loses control over them. Successful people do have options and will exercise them if they perceive that they are not appreciated or are not part of a team.
This can be a real concern to an executive whose leadership style and organizational culture is fear based. Even incentive motivation may be temporary because today’s incentive may become tomorrow’s expected right. Both fear and incentive motivations are temporary and externally imposed.
Effective leaders understand that the best way to motivate their employees is through individual attitude development. This motivation is more permanent and internally developed.
They lead using the following principles to build this motivation:
1. Strong leaders share power to get emotional and intellectual buy-in from their management team. People involved in developing the planned initiative become part of the solution.
2. All of us have a basic need to be appreciated. Effective CEOs make sure their employees Maine realize how much they are appreciated.
3. People follow leaders for what they can do for them. Effective leaders have the interests of their employees at heart and their employees know it.
Effective leaders understand that we all work for ourselves. For us work becomes a blessing, not drudgery. We work to structure our day for great personal benefit.
CEOs seek people who are internally motivated toward personal growth. They facilitate this growth by helping employees reach their personal goals as they help the organization reach its objectives.
CEOs know that successful people build successful organizations. They build a positive environment where people want to work and want to do their best.
In this environment, people are challenged, fulfilled and happy. They develop a loyalty to the organization that cannot be created through any other means.