Let me encourage you as we approach Christmas to choose joy. It is the time of year when Christmas Carols are sung around the world. Quite a few of them talk about joy. “Joy to the world,” is one that comes to mind. The interesting thing about joy is that it is a choice; it is something you can choose to be in. That is where the word enjoy comes from – it is to be in joy. There are some things that help you to be joyful more than others. Remembering that what you focus on expands I want to focus this blog on joy and show how it increases engagement at work.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” Henri Nouwen
What are the things in your life that bring you joy?
The things that bring us joy are different for each of us. Thankfulness is a key component of joy. You can get distracted by all the challenging and difficult areas of life. However choosing to focus on what you are thankful for, whilst it may take some time, is a gift that keeps on giving. Often joy surrounds those times when you are engaged with other people be it friends, family, or colleagues at work.
This gives you a clue as to what will increase engagement at work. It is creating the environment for a joyful workplace. Characteristics of such a workplace should be that at times there is a sense of fun. Fun doesn’t tend to be a characteristic when the environment is one of fear. One leader I know makes sure they don’t lose sight of the lighter side of life by having the phrase – “don’t take yourself too seriously” sitting on their desk.
When leaders look to cultivate a sense of joy in the workplace the evidence suggests engagement with the work being done increases. Happy people are more productive.
Are you in a Good Place?
As part of the research for my book I asked one leader what they wished they had known at the beginning of their leadership journey. They said:
“Looking after myself as a leader – when I am in a good place, I am a better leader.”
Are you in a good place? Or are you depleted by the variety of things you do and the expectations on you? It is not sustainable. Our bodies and minds will rebel at some point.
As leaders you can’t expect to give away what you don’t possess. When you as a leader are engaged then the team will be engaged. An engaged leader will spend the time necessary cultivating relationships on the team.
Research done by the Mayo clinic indicates that if just 20% of your working week is invigorating (give you joy, energy) then burn out goes well down.
There is a myriad of reasons why people will be more depleted at the moment. Just checking in with your team members once a week in a one-on-one meeting will increase their engagement. As you can see from the work done by the Mayo clinic, it is not a great percentage of the working week that needs to give you joy or energy, that place where you are in the flow of what you are doing. It also has the added benefit of helping to build your resilience.
“It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.” Anonymous
As you approach the end of 2022 what are you grateful for? Getting clear on what you are grateful or thankful for is choosing joy. When you intentionally focus on these things you are creating within yourself the energy you need to be able to lead your team well.