8 Things Better Than Making People Happy

Making people happy. Sometimes that’s a leader’s ultimate goal, and it’s a nice one. What’s the flip side – an unhappy team? Nobody wants that! It feels good to know the people you lead feel good about their work.

But happiness? I guess it’s all in how you define it. I view happiness as an emotion, and emotions are so fleeting! A word of encouragement, an ice cream sundae, and a raise will all make your employees’ happy, but to varying degrees and for very different lengths of time.

If your scoreboard hinges on making your team happy, you’re going to have many frustrating days as a leader, my friend. Here are eight things I’d rather the people on my team experience beyond happiness.

  1. Contentment: I want those on my team to be able to have a sense of satisfaction and peace amid the highs and the lows.
  2. Grateful: Not grateful to me, but just grateful! For the opportunity to serve others, for our customers, for our teammates, for their health and family and homes. Even grateful for what they learn when life gets tough.
  3. They are making a difference: Every employee who finds value in their work needs to know they are making an impact. Remind your people how they uniquely contribute to the team.
  4. Growth: Growth doesn’t assume that every employee wants to climb the corporate ladder; many times growth just means getting better at what we are doing right now.
  5. Appreciation: Everyone needs their efforts to be acknowledged (even if they won’t admit it). Doesn’t it feel good when someone is appreciative for you and what you have done?
  6. Fulfillment: That feeling – at the end of the good days and the hard ones – that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s nothing like it!
  7. Challenged: I want my team to stretch and grow, and that doesn’t happen without facing and working through challenges. Overcoming challenges teaches and matures us.
  8. Hopeful: People always, always, always need hope! We are excited about it in the good times, and we cling to it in the hard times. Share your hopes and dreams for your teammates’ future and the future of your organization.

This is just our list of eight. What would you add?


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