A happy employee is a productive employee. If you don't believe that, try this statement on for size, "An unhappy employee is a productive employee."
I don't think so. So how do we create happy employees and remain happy employees ourselves? I believe the answer lies behind this simple equation:
Happiness is inversely proportional to our expectations
When we set expectations on ourselves or on other people that are too high, we are jeopardizing our happiness and that of our peers. If an employee does not meet our lofty expectations then they are going to feel bad about themselves and we, as managers, are not going to be happy either.
Here are three tips to maintain your happiness and that of your coworkers while still getting the job done:
Define a set of minimum expectations for a project. These are the bare minimum criteria needed for the project to be a success. As someone told me, "If the minimum were not good enough, it would not be the minimum."
Next, define loftier expectations as goals. Goals are to be striven for but not bars that impact the success of a project and therefore the happiness of everyone involved. Goals that are met are to be celebrated and rewarded in a special manner.
Finally, and this is really the most important tip for me, I must remember that no matter my expectations or goals, I am in charge of my own happiness and serenity. An odd word helps me remember this fact, rhodopsin (rho-dop-sin).
What is rhodopsin you might ask…
Pilots are taught early on in training that flying at night poses special risks that are not encountered during the day. Largely... you cannot see! However, the human body is an amazing thing. A pigment in the eye, rhodopsin, enables us to see in low-light conditions quite well. At night, it takes about 45 minutes for rhodopsin to build up in the eyes. However, if you look directly into a bright light (like another plane’s taxi lights or a flashlight)... POOF... the pigment is immediately photobleached and your night vision is zapped.
Think of your serenity and happiness as rhodopsin. It takes a considerable amount of time to build up but can be gone in a flash. Be like a pilot and don't let anyone or anything take away your serenity and discover a happier and more productive employee in yourself.