Today we welcome guest blogger Alex Kjerulfis from Denmark, founder of Woohoo Inc., and one of the world’s leading experts on happiness at work. He has done keynotes in 30 countries for clients like IBM, LEGO, IKEA, and Microsoft, and is the author of four books.
In a recent study conducted by Woohoo Inc., the No. 1 cause of unhappiness at work is bad bosses. Good workplace relationships and social support are crucial for employees to be happy at work, and studies show that the most important workplace relationship is with the immediate manager. When employees have a good relationship with the boss, they are more likely to be happy at work, and when bosses show that they don’t care about their people, this makes employees miserable.
Given that bad bosses are the most common cause of unhappiness at work, and the negative effects they have on employees and on the company’s results, here are our top suggestions for fixing this problem:
1: Good Leadership is About Happiness – Good bosses are happy themselves and do their best to make employees, customers, and maybe even the world, a little happier. Therefore, companies must hire managers who are happy, managers must work on improving their own happiness level, and workplaces must “hold up” happy leaders as role models.
2: All Managers Must be Trained – Good management skills are not an inherent trait in most people. Therefore, all managers must be trained regardless of how effective they are. The best leaders have excellent relationship-building skills. They understand and relate to many different kinds of people, whereas bad bosses relate only to people who are like themselves. Therefore, start by training all managers on relationship-building skills.
3: Bad Managers Must be Stopped – Every workplace has them; bosses who should not be bosses because they lack the professional or personal skills to manage well. If bad bosses cannot be trained to be good bosses, they need to be moved out of a supervisory position. One company we work with lets employees rate their managers twice a year and the scores are published for the company to see, creating massive pressure on bad bosses to mend their ways.
Hire happy managers, train all managers, and demote poor managers. Simple stuff.