Are you happy now?
July is the month in which we celebrate our nation's birth, and you might have been inspired to take a moment and read the Declaration of Independence. The start of the second paragraph says "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Life and liberty are fairly straight forward. There were prohibitions of cruel and unusual punishment and unlawful imprisonment, as well as freedom of religion, speech and assembly. But we are left to ponder exactly what Thomas Jefferson meant by "the pursuit of happiness."
Webster defines happiness as "a state of well-being and contentment, and having a pleasurable or satisfying experience." In Jefferson's day, many believed that people achieved happiness by being able to provide for their family without fear of famine, warfare or a repressive aristocracy. They migrated to the new world hoping for improvement in their ability to achieve what would now be called a stable and prosperous middle class society. In other words, employment in a successful, well-run business plays a big part in determining how "happy" we are.
Business leaders can play a big part in whether their employees are happy and having a satisfying experience by creating a positive and supportive environment. One in which people are both recognized and appreciated for their contribution. Praise for good work rather than constant criticism for poor performance will be much more effective in motivating people to behave and work in the most desirable manner. An atmosphere where everyone is pulling in same direction and enjoying the experience.
At least a third of our lives are spent at work, and that is going to have a very strong influence on whether we are happy during the other two thirds. The success of any business is the result of a highly motivated and happy team of employees.
Click on the link below for a discussion about how effective leadership can accomplish this.
Some very unhappy events have taken place in this country in the last few months. As business leaders, let's pledge to do all can to increase the national level of happiness. Mr. Jefferson would be pleased!
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