Miserable at Work? Happy at Work? – Guess Which one is Better!

Fire Starter SessionsSay no to resentment and yes to inspiration.
Danielle LaPorte, The Fire Starter Sessions

Happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result.
Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage


At the beginning of her Ted TALK, Amy Cuddy asks us to take a quick inventory of our bodies. Are we “closed up,” in some kind of “keep away from me, I’m not very confident” message to the universe? Or, are we open, beckoning, confident — happy?

Here’s what I think. There are a lot of miserable people out there. And, they are miserable in the midst of some pretty good circumstances, which is especially sad. We have so much going for us. But unhappiness seems to spreading far more than happiness.

Including, and especially in, the workplace.

Check all the stats… employee engagement is not high, people are almost fearful, and many have to “drag” themselves to work far too often.

And when they get there, there is great dissatisfaction – with their managers, with their peers, with the people that report to them.

Unhappy people spread their unhappiness.

We read about Zappos (Delivering Happiness), and the “best places to work” lists, but not many of us are as happy as those folks are.

Happiness_Advantage_HBKSo, I’ve been reading a little about this happiness idea. A friend of mine practically made me read The Happiness Advantage. And, you know what – happiness is indeed quite an advantage! And I was put onto other writings (like two books by Danielle LaPorte), and I’ve sort of had a new “revelation.”

Maybe it is the number of one task of a leader to…

Make his/her people happy at work.
or, at least,
To make it much more possible for everyone to be happy at work.

Have you ever been unhappy at work? I have. It is miserable – genuinely, deeply miserable. It drains energy, drive, hope… and it saps productivity. Unhappiness breeds “doing the bare minimum” effort, and day-after-day becomes “how do I make it until I get to leave here” thinking.

But, happiness in work and at work creates the space for great interactions, more productivity, more creativity, more energy, more of that intrinsic motivation that brings out our best.

So, if you are a leader, it’s time to get serious about this. Chances are if everybody is miserable at work, you’re playing some role in that. (You know: “if momma ain’t happy…”)…

And, chances are, if people are glad to be there, happy at work, you’ve playing some role in that.

To put it simply, we all work better when we are happy at work. And we all live “better” when we are happy in life.

You know what this means, don’t you. If you are a leader, and it is your job to help build and nurture a happy workplace, then… you have to be pretty happy at work yourself, don’t you?

I think a leader who makes people miserable should be… well, to state the obvious, the more miserable a leader seems to be, the more miserable everyone else will be. I suspect we don’t need many more miserable leaders.

It’s time for the Happiness Advantage to be embraced, experienced, and spread far and wide.


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