Any leader worth their salt knows how happy their people are. You should know from your daily interactions with your people.
Here’s a simple exercise to determine if you know how happy, or apathetic, your employees are:
- Make a list of all the people who report directly to you. If you can’t make the list because you don’t know all their names, that’s a good place to start! 2. Next to each person, write how happy you think that person is at work: Argh, Meh or Yay. 3. Next to each number write what made you choose that score. What have you observed that person doing or saying, or not doing or saying, that led you to that particular score?
- Next to each person, write how happy you think that person is at work: Argh, Meh or Yay.
It might look something like this:
|Name||Rating||Reasons for rating|
|Alice Smith||Yay||Always sounds positive at meetings, praises co-workers….|
|Lisa Nelson||Meh||Very quiet in meetings…|
|John Wallace||Argh||Looked sad at lunch, called in sick|
|Mia Jenson||?||Never complains. Never looks happy. OR I don’t know who Mia Jenson is (Yikes!)|
- Next to each number write what made you choose that score. What have you observed that person doing or saying, or not doing or saying, that led you to that particular score?
- If you’re not sure of your scores or don’t know enough about some people to rate them, try this Step 4.
Observe your people for a few days to gather more data. Don’t tell them what you’re doing and don’t ask them directly, just observe them. Don’t be weird about it – just take a closer look at each of your people to find out how happy they are. Once you have more data, update your chart.
- Verify your scores. Have a fifteen-minute chat with each of your people to find out how happy they are. Ask them to rate themselves from Argh to Yay. Also, ask them what makes them ahppy at work and what could make them happier. And don’t forget to ask them what they think of how you’re doing your job.
Repeat this exercise periodically, maybe every three months. Why? We can all probably articulate why apathy is bad in our employees. But do we think about the opposite – why happy is good?
A quote from Southwest Airlines ex-CEO, Herb Kelleher:
“People would ask me when I was talking at a business school or to an analyst group, “Which comes first, your employees, your customers or your shareholders?” And you know for a long, long time, many decades, I’ve been telling them that it isn’t a conundrum. That if you treat your employees right, they’re happy and proud and participative with respect to what they’re doing. They manifest that attitude to your customers and your customers come back. And what’s business all about but having your customers come back, which makes the shareholders happy?”