Happiness @Work

In designing happiness workshops for organizations we have been having conversations about whether to overtly use the term "happiness" in workplaces. One hunch tendered is that the term happiness is inaccessible and curiously unwelcome by many organizational leaders. I've encountered a fair amount of resistance to it based on all manner of concerns about happiness as being potentially irrelevant to distracting from what people refer to as the "bottom line." After all my work and my book on happiness, I'm happy to abandon the term in conversations with people who resist the idea of happiness as a valid organizational performance and metric construct. At the core of this dynamic is that in almost every case, people lack literacy in the happiness research over the last decade.

I'm proposing instead just talking about "how people feel at work" hoping to appeal to leaders who at least intuitively believe that how people feel at work has direct impact on their engagement. We will have to do as much literacy development even about this, drawing from research and practice, on how emotion profoundly shapes core issues like creativity, resilience, collaboration, motivation and performance.

Reality is that it is incredibly naive to think that the externalities of organizational structures and systems could ever have more power than how people feel in shaping how they act and interact at work. The old wisdom that culture trumps strategy and structure reflects the primacy of emotional equity in the workplace. Expect this truth to sustain whatever leadership fashions we endure through the ages.