The Quietly Happy Workplace

There’s a common misconception that the process of motivating employees has to include a lot of waved pompoms, ringing bells, and people popping up like toast over their cubicle walls with a spontaneous WOOHOO!

While I’m all in favor of getting wild and crazy in the interest of workplace engagement, all this woohooing is only an outward expression of an inner joy. And while many workplaces can and should allow their joy to spill over into public view, some others—a hospital ICU, for example, or a funeral home—might call for a little discretion.

But not TOO much discretion. These workplaces are just as prone to dysfunctional, crazy-making behaviors as any other. And they can be even MORE prone to the negative, depressed emotions that can drag a workplace environment into the pits.

So let’s say I’m the owner of a funeral home. A few of my staffers spend half their time working and the other half making everyone else miserable—gossiping, whining, backstabbing, the works. I can’t exactly encourage my staff to put clown noses on the departed, or to woohoo and greet grieving family members with a hearty, “Hey, how’s it going, dude?” They wouldn’t be there if things were going well.

Workplace engagement is founded on mutual respect and on being of profound service to others. Both of these are as compatible with my hypothetical funeral home as they are with any other workplace.

That doesn’t mean people in these “discreet” lines of work can’t go a little crazy in celebration. You can and you should. Every office party in my funeral home would have a casket full of ice for the drinks and ladyfinger cookies covered with frosting and standing on end to look like tombstones. Why not?

But engagement doesn’t start with wild parties. It starts with employees who care for each other and treat each other with basic kindness. This is both a matter of what we do (“I remember your daughter wasn’t feeling well—is she better now?”) and what we don’t do (no gossiping behind someone’s back—giving OR receiving).

But it’s also a matter of reframing EVERY aspect of your daily work in terms of being of profound service to others. That, not employee cheer pyramids or conga lines through the lobby, are what transforms a workplace into a place of genuine engagement and joy.

3 Responses to “The Quietly Happy Workplace”

  1. Of the panoply of website I’ve pored over this has the most veracity.

  2. Oh that maxi is EXQUISITE and so are you! Was looking at these pics while listening to your message – it was almost like being there! The second outfit is gorgeous too and I love the flowers – great pics. And cheeky kitty. LOVE! Sarah xxx

  3. I’ve been reading the Aussie press about this. What is peculiar about the Solomons case is that they have over the past few years become the focus of expensive attentions form both Red China and Taiwan. The Solomons are one of the few Pacific “nations” to recognize Taiwan, and that has casued both sides to interfere massively in local politics to try to preserve, or change, that status.So a lot of the resentment, unlike most anti-Chinese sentiment, has to do with foreign meddling in their politics. As usual, the innocent will suffer.

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