There's a correlation between how happy people are and their productivity. When we are joyful, we are better workers. We have more excitement. Our creativity is stronger, and we're better team players. Because of this, it's important as a leader to constantly look for ways to make your team happier.
Making your team love what they do is tough because it's almost impossible to measure happiness. On top of that, people may be unhappy in their personal life, which then shows up in the workplace.
This makes it difficult for you as a leader to know how happy your team really is. With that said, your responsibility is to make working at your company as great of an experience as possible. People want to feel safe, respected, that they have the ability to learn, and to be a winner. Below, I'll list some ways you can make your company culture produce these feelings for your team. Happiness may be hard to measure, but it is essential to have if your want your company to succeed.
1. Get rid of the company hierarchy
In a startup, many people love that they enter a new company with an inflated title. All a sudden, they go from an entry-level position to a VP or Chief position. As a founder who started his company at 21, I know first hand how easy it is to get a title that you're not ready for. One of the best things I did when I became the CEO of my startup is I promised myself I would never use my title to get my way. I would never say, "It needs to be this way, because I'm the CEO." Not doing this allowed me to get more respect from my team, and made people feel like their opinions really mattered.
As our company began growing, however, I noticed more and more teammates started caring a lot about their title. Some would want to change it every couple of months, focusing more on what they were called than what they were actually doing. To stop this from brewing into a habit in the company, I got rid of all company titles. You're either on the product, marketing or operations team. There's no VPs or Chiefs besides the CEO and we don't do a company hierarchy. We follow a holacracy model. This forces our team to work on projects that they care about, not things that a dictator tells them they have to. New ideas can come from anyone, and we all back whichever department needs us the most. I this model, the group comes before the individual. This gives our team the feeling of safety and security that we as humans are programmed to desire.
2. Have a no-asshole rule
When I first started our company, I used to be a little bit of a hot head. Tempers would fly, and I would get in yelling arguments with teammates just to get my way. Overtime, I noticed how many negative consequences come from leading through fear. I also realized how much of an idiot people look like when they flip out to get their way. It's like arguing with a child.
Scaring your team to do something may help you get what you want in the short-term, but it's catastrophic in the long-term. People want to come to work and feel safe not scared. And since realizing this, I've installed a "no asshole rule" in our company. I don't put up with people who yell at other teammates, and either should you. These people will destroy your company, and if you don't nip the problem as soon as it happens it'll infect the entire team.
3. Give your team as much freedom as possible
When we grew past 6 team members, I decided to get rid of set working hours. We limited team meetings to less than 15 minutes every morning, and we let people work from home some days if they wanted to. While this may not work for every business, it has done wonders for ours.
People are happy that they have the freedom to work where they want when they want to. And because there is no set hours, many times people work way more than they have to because they are passionate about their job. It also encourages our team to focus more on results rather than time. I strongly believe that there is a correlation between people who brag about how long they stay in the office and their level of output. They more they brag, the less productive they are. Leading a company that cares more about what you do over how long you sit in the office makes everyone feel more comfortable. The more efficient your team is, the happier they will be.