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Leading Happy: 4 transformational skills for boosting morale at work

Leading Happy: 4 transformational skills for boosting morale at work

Leading Happy: 4 transformational skills for boosting morale at work

    Why is it important to make people happy at work, and more importantly, why is that your job? As a leader, you certainly have a full plate, and tackling issues of employee mental health can feel both overwhelming and confusing. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook though, because believe it or not, bosses have a profound impact on worker morale, and worker morale has a profound impact on the success of a business. That means, as a leader, it’s your responsibility, your opportunity, and your privilege, to place high priority on the emotional health of your work team.

    But in the stressful climate of business, it’s easy to lose sight of the “softer” matters of heart and mind, and that’s when big losses at business start to be spelled “U-N-H-A-P-P-Y”. The costs of workplace discontent and employee burnout can include difficulties like high turnover, counterproductive work behaviors, lowered innovation, low motivation, less talent retention, more negative conflict, and a declining organizational culture.
Not to fear and don’t lose heart though, because the characteristics of good leadership just happen to also be the ingredients of employee happiness. By folding the principles of transformational leadership into your daily operations, you can safeguard both the success and spirit your organization and everyone in it.

Transformational leadership involves 4 main skills and practices.

1: IDEALIZED INFLUENCE: This basically means walk the walk, give a good example of the types of behavior, thinking, and interacting that you want people in your organization to epitomize. Be ethical, follow the same rules you tell others to follow, be moral and kind, in short, be a person other people should look up to. Doing this creates not only a great learning opportunity for followers, it makes people trust and feel safe with you at the helm.

2:  INSPIRATIONAL MOTIVATION: Share and share often the vision and purpose of your organization, and how each person fits into that bigger picture. The vast majority of your employees fundamentally want their work to mean something good. They want to know that their efforts are ultimately making the world a better place, otherwise, they burn out, stress out, and check out. Even if it’s in a small way, leaders need to continuously emphasize how workers are making a difference and how every step gets us closer to that valued, shared goal. Be a cheerleader, be positive, be energized, and most importantly, be optimistic—it’s contagious!

3:  INDIVIDUALIZED CONSIDERATION: Support each of your employees in a personal way. This means not only making sure they have what they need to get a job done, it means partnering with them to solve problems and feel their best. This might include discussing both workplace and personal matters, or social dynamics an employee is experiencing. Taking the time to give a listening ear and a sounding board for troubleshooting, and showing you are genuinely interested in each person makes a world of difference. Having an “open door policy” is great, but really go the extra mile to reach out and engage with each worker. This will help you anticipate broader workplace problems, implement pre-emtive solutions, and it will galvanize the loyalty members feel toward you and their jobs.

4:  INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION:  Every person wants to grow and climb higher mountains throughout their career. You can be the catalyst for this progress by consistently and enthusiastically investing in employee development. Be curious about what each person is passionate about, and what their unique skills are (even if it’s not part of their job description). You can find diamonds in the rough all around you, and those gems enable product innovation and higher-level accomplishments, not just for individual workers, but for the business as a whole.
Employee mental health is not just a nice idea or an afterthought, it’s the foundation of success for every organization, and it’s in the leader’s hands to safeguard and enhance the experience of everyone following them. Happy workplaces are not only more enjoyable, they are more productive, more innovative, more competitive, and more robust. The best part is, caring for emotional health at work only requires some mindfulness, attention, and a commitment to give your best. When you follow the steps toward uplifting those around you, an elevation of your own health will inevitably follow. Heaven knows in the post-COVID world, we could all use a little (or a lot) of uplifting, reconnecting, and rebuilding, and there’s no better time to “unmask” our hearts than right now.
Avolio, B. & Bass, B. (2016). Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire manual and sample set (3rd ed.). Menlo Park, CA: Mind Garden.
Chaudhry, A. & Javed, H. (2012). Impact of transactional and laissez-faire leadership style on motivation. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(7), 258–264.
Chi, N., Chung, Y., & Tsai, W. (2011). How do happy leaders enhance team success? The mediating roles of transformational leadership, group affective tone, and team processes. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(6), 1421–1454
Recommended Reading
Bass, B., & Avolio, B. (Eds.). (1994). Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
Burns, J. (1978). Leadership. New York, NY: Harper and Row
Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin.
Brett McDonald holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and was a practicing therapist in Wenatchee for 17 years. She also has a doctorate degree in business administration with an emphasis in organizational leadership, and is the owner of Dragonfly Team and Leadership Counseling

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