How To Be Happier at Work

by Jaburg Wilk

Jaburg Wilk

Success doesn’t make you happy – happiness makes you successful.   

Numerous studies show that employees who are happy and feel respected at work are significantly more productive and less likely to look for new employment. Unfortunately, many employees are not happy at work. They are fearful of management and/or each other. There is no sense of “team.” Many of these unhappy employees end up in our office seeking legal advice about how they can improve things at work.  We compiled a list of specific things employees can do to improve their situation. This list is not just for front-line employees. It is equally applicable to management.   

Don’t Get Defensive.

When you receive criticism, listen to the feedback and then focus on how you will do better. Most of us can do better. Getting defensive and upset usually makes things worse.   

Don’t Be a Complainer.

If something is wrong, fix it. Complaining and blaming others is destructive. 

Clear the Air.

When you have a problem with someone, politely tell them. If you’re going to be critical, start and end the conversation by telling the person about something they do well or that you like about them. If you start and end on a positive note, they will be more likely to hear the criticism and change their behavior.    

Have a Plan.

If you have been criticized, listen carefully and then prepare a specific plan for how you intend to make things better. Show the other person that you listened and are taking them seriously.   

Be Positive.

A negative attitude can quickly destroy a team. When you allow yourself to get upset, you won’t see things clearly.    

Get to Know People.

Ask your co-employees about their families and what they did over the weekend. You may discover you have a lot in common.   

Show Them You Remember.

When you learn that a co-employee loves soccer, send them that article you just read about soccer. They will appreciate that you were thinking of them. Celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. A simple “happy birthday” card can make the world of difference in your relationship with someone.    

Spread Happiness.

Work can be exhausting. Show up each day, and make the workplace a little better by being happy. Bring donuts to work for no reason. Happiness is contagious.    

Be a Leader.

Even if you aren’t in management, you can and should still act like a leader. Help to solve problems, and take initiative.   

Leave Your Ego at the Door.

A team cannot function successfully if one of its members lets their ego get in the way. The purpose of an organization is to serve the needs of its clients – not you.

These are just some of the ways in which your organization, and you, can establish a better culture. Our firm has created a set of 21 Fundamentals we call the  JW Way . We talk about one of the fundamentals for five minutes at the beginning of each meeting. Each week, an employee authors a message about one of the Fundamentals that is shared throughout the company. We spend a lot of time talking about the JW Way, and we take it seriously. This is one of the reasons why we have happy employees.    

It requires time, effort, and dedication to be a happier employee and to help build a better culture. Happiness is not the absence of problems – it is the ability to deal with them. Put in the effort. You’ll be glad you did.   


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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