According to Abe Bakhsheshy, Director of Customer Service for University of Utah Hospital, “Happy employees care more for quality and outcome. They create an atmosphere that reduces conflict and turnover, which makes customers satisfied and happy.” (quoted by Dave Hemsath and Leslie Yerkes in 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work, p. 56)
Practicing character qualities and developing them as strengths contributes to your happiness and to the success of your efforts as an employee and the success of your company. Examples of traits you can practice are commitment, cooperation, courtesy, friendliness, helpfulness, honesty, patience, or trustworthiness. Leadership authority and organizational consultant Stephen R. Covey, in Principle-Centered Leadership, notes that, “Character and skill development is a process of ongoing improvement or progression, a constant upward spiral. The personal side of total quality means total integrity around your value system-and part of that value system means you are always getting better, personally and professionally.” (p. 253)
In addition, character traits actually guide your decisions and shape your ethics. For example, when you practice respect toward your company and supervisors, you will not even consider passing proprietary information along to competitors. Lack of respect, on the other hand, may lead you to act in ways that increase unhappiness for both others and yourself.
Do you consider your company a happy place to work? What is your responsibility for the level of happiness there? Do you want to increase the happiness at your workplace? You may not realize how much influence you have. Even one happy person in a department can have a positive effect on others and on the atmosphere there. Check out your self-perception. Have you decided you are powerless to be happier at work? Can you see how increasing your own happiness might influence the others with whom you work?
The culture of a company, of course, has a lot to do with its employees’ level of happiness. Companies that demonstrate an attitude of service and commitment to ethical behavior tend to be happier places to work. So too are companies guided by positive principles, such as caring for the environment (character qualities of love and respect), fostering teamwork (cooperation), and encouraging openness (truthfulness, honesty, trustworthiness). The authors of What Happy Companies Know put it this way:
“To build a happy company, you must find the few actionable principles that really make a difference, that can revolutionize culture. You must then take specific steps to drive those principles deep into the company, into every level and into every one of its behaviors. The principles must become so intrinsically part of the culture that they not only become ingrained in each employee but eventually become manifest in the actual physiology of each individual person, in the wiring of the person’s brain and in the balanced interplay of heart and mind.” (p. 115)
As individuals practice and increase their use of character strengths at work, a synergy develops between the company’s operating principles and individual choices. Everyone benefits. happiness quotes