Is it OK and appropriate to have fun at work? Servant leaders Build Energy and develop an environment in which people are passionate about the purpose and vision of the organization. I truly believe that people will be far more engaged and productive when they are enjoying themselves.
My sons have developed an annual tradition with our maple syrup operation. Last weekend was their third annual event where many of their friends come together to work collecting sap and producing syrup. If that were the extent of what happens, I would venture to say that not many would show up. It is not easy work, and I am sure that young people have much better things to do, as the weather turns nice after a long winter.
But they come to have a lot of fun, while doing some heavy lifting and significant work. In and around the work they have competitive games, great fellowship, good food, and incredible camaraderie. And due to all the fun they are having, they efficiently do the work of the maple syrup farm. A lot of work gets accomplished and my load gets way lighter, which I really appreciate.
These same principles can be applied in the workplace. The more people enjoy their time in their pursuit of the purpose and vision of the organization, the more passionate they will be about their work.
Making work productive and fun does not require the introduction of non-work elements. Instead, make work better by changing the way that the work is done and by informing employees of “why” they are doing what they do. One of the very best ways for people to have fun at work is to feel totally connected to the organization’s worthy purpose and vision.
Building energy by fostering a productive and fun work environment involves the following key principles:
- Clearly communicate your purpose, vision, and values. Be a great communicator who utilizes all available methods to define expectations and set the tone for your department or organization. Never be vague and run the risk of losing trust from others. No secrets allowed. Be less structured, and be human and approachable at all times.
- Help employees connect the work that they do every day to the overall success of the organization. When people understand “why” they do what they do, they will identify better/faster/smarter ways to do their work.
- Empower your people to be entrepreneurial and to test their ideas and ideals. Encourage your employees to be their best by discovering how they best fit within the team and throughout the organization. Don’t always feel like you need to be in charge. Effective leadership is about delegating and being able to trust yourself enough to let go and allow others to establish their own footing without being so dependent upon you. Give your employees the room to explore and unleash their passion.
- Establish standards and best practices that everyone can enjoy, learn from and improve along the way. Today’s workplace is less about the business defining the individual and more about the individual defining the business.
- Create an atmosphere of recognition! Leaders need to model the way and set the standard for consistently lifting people up every step of the way. It is fun to be in an environment of positive recognition.
Servant leaders build energy by developing an environment where, people feel they can relate to you and they clearly know what you expect from them. They encourage people’s voices to be heard and amplified. Make the journey simple and fun and watch the people and your organization flourish.
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 2:24