Not happy? Employees feel what you feel. Find out how to fix it.
Does going to work mean that you change hats and become a negative, overly opinionated, in-your-face style manager who nags your employees into being so afraid to communicate?
Do you conjure up ways to make others miserable without even knowing it?
Are you too pedantic about detail that you lose sight of the big picture?
Have you ever noticed that how you feel as an entrepreneur and business leader often effects how your team sees not only you, but your brand and what they do for it?
Yesterday, I was over one of my best friends houses for afternoon tea. She is the most amazing woman who has climbed the corporate ladder and achieved incredible success, and has married the man of her dreams and had two very beautiful, loving and happy children. The love she has in her heart is contagious. Her 3 year old son just has to play with his toys in the background and she will walk over and give him a kiss, just because she loves him so much and there is nothing more enjoyable than seeing your children play and have fun. I was there for a couple of hours and in that time, she never took her eyes of her two sons and continually smiled at them, made them a priority if they wanted something and just made them aware that they are number one in her life. The result is that both children are good kids. They don't cry throughout the night, aren't insecure, adapt well to every situation, are open to others when they walk in the door and laugh continually. They are 'happy little vegemites' and all thanks to the love and guidance of my friend and her equally impressive husband. I was envious in a good way, but without children myself, its hard to fully comprehend just how well both of them have done in raising these two incredibly happy boys.
However, I can relate this to business. The synergy with how we approach our staff results in how happy they are. If I look at days in which I have been unhappy with life, stressed, and under the pump - I can see clearly how this has effected the happiness of those in my office. While I may become short in my communication, they become withdrawn and start to resent being in an environment that is not conducive to happiness and job satisfaction.
Fortunately, I have changed and worked hard on being 'happy and fulfilled' and therefore in the past 6 months the improvement in my own circumstances has led to a happy workforce that produces outstanding work and who love to come into the office earlier than they should and leave later than I would like. The energy in each of our Marketing Eye offices and in particular with our marketing consultants and creative teams is contagious. They raise the bar week after week producing big agency campaigns and marketing materials for small agency prices. They are passionate about their work and are equally as supportive of everything I do. They work hard for their CEO (Julie) and are delivering day-in, day-out.
How I changed;
1. Healthy lifestyle; I am unfortunately allergic to many foods and I have for the past 6 months limited my contact with food that makes me sick or not feel right. Believe it or not, food effects your mood and your energy - both of which are critical in a business.
2. Don't be everything to everyone; I am one person, so I can't be everything to everyone. Keeping up a hectic social life, humanitarian causes, business growth and development and having time for me is hard to juggle. I don't have a family, but yet I struggle. So I did a plan on how I would spend my weeks and put friends in list of priority. Good friends are there always and don't need to see you every other day, but you still need to ensure that you maintain and work at being in contact.
3. Stay off Facebook; Not that I have ever been one to spend much time on facebook, but it is a time waster. I see friends spend hours trawling through people's photos or comments. Really??? Is it that important? Isn't there something else more fulfilling to do. I see spending more than 10 minutes every other day on facebook as time wasting and if you are going to check in every day, then go watch the Kardashians - there is no difference in outcome.
4. Read "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and take your own lessons away from it.
5. Work out what makes you smile; For me its flowers, painting, writing nice messages to people I love or care about, sharing experiences whether its a meal or a walk in the park, notching up achievements and playing with my dog.
6. Live where you are happiest; I have now experienced for the first time in my adult life that if you live in the wrong house/apartment, it can effect your happiness. I moved back to Sydney for 6 months (my favourite city in the world) and lived in an expensive apartment that made me unhappy. I am not sure if the Feng Shui was wrong but something wasn't right. I could not spend longer than the time it took to have a sleep in the apartment because it had such a negative feel about it. A couple of years earlier, I lived in Walsh Bay on the water and woke up every morning with a huge smile on my face and now I am back in Melbourne and the same. I love where I live and am incredibly happy.
7. Choose your customers wisely; Don't take on customers (b2b obviously!) that don't have the same values and who you can't make a difference to.
8. Travel; Not everyone can afford to travel, but the reality is that it doesn't need to be expensive. You can drive a couple of hours out of town and pitch a tent and have the same feeling of travelling as hopping on a plane to Paris. What travelling does is it transports your mind away from every day life and takes it to another place. From a marketing perspective, your exposure to advertising, marketing materials and customer service is broadened and you never know what you may take back to your business.
9. Invest in staff; Unfortunately when you are a growing business, its hard to pay what larger companies pay their people, but think about other ways to incentivize your team. Profit sharing is a good idea because it means a win-win for everyone.
10. Work/life balance; It's hard to tell your staff to go home early when you know that you really need them to finish the work that they are doing. Giving them some flexibility to work from home should they want to or come in late one morning a week and work later another is an option. Encouraging staff to do yoga at lunchtime or buying everyone lunch once a month. There is always more you can do to make yourself happy and others around you.
Random acts of kindness are now part of my daily ritual. Whether it is buying the receptionist at my building a coffee or flowers, or sending a card to an old friend.
Happiness is afterall...everything.
Mellissah Smith, Atlanta.