Happiness at work – How leaders create abundant organisations

There are huge benefits to be derived from happy employees. It is therefore vital for a leader to understand how to make sure employees enjoy their work so much that it almost seems effortless. Benefits include increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, increased collaboration and increased innovation and lead to increased sales, something vitally important in our tough economic climate.

Professor David Ulrich believes that those leaders who understand how to achieve sustained engagement will have employees who are seven times more likely to report high satisfaction at work and twice as likely to be satisfied with their pay. He calls such leaders, ‘meaning makers’.

In essence, meaning makers are concerned with ‘emotion’ and not just ‘motion’. Motion focuses on behaviors and actions; emotion focuses on passion and meaning. Motion is what we do; emotion is why we do it. Motion gets things done while the leader is present; emotion sustains behavior in the leader’s absence. Leaders in motion differ from leaders who connect with emotion.

Ulrich’s research has proved that leaders who are meaning makers also increase employee productivity, organization capability, and investor confidence. Leaders who only master the leadership basics can set strategy, execute for results, manage people, develop future people, and have personal credibility. However if these basics are not woven around a sense of meaning or well-being, they are stale.  Leaders can bring passion to strategy, execution, talent, human capital and personal proficiency when they bring meaning into these tasks.

More importantly though, making meaning makes money. Over a 10 year period “best companies to work for” have a 6,8% stock appreciation versus 1% of the average firm. Additionally, only 13% of disengaged employees would recommend their company’s products or services, compared with 78% of engaged employees.

FNB, CEO, Dr Michael Jordaan explains, “There’s a direct correlation between productivity at work and happiness. Happier employees work better and are far more effective. They are also more inclusive of others and therefore are more likely to get promoted. Happiness also comes from compassion and kindness to others. So it figures, if you are more giving and generous you’ll be happier and in turn you are more likely to do better. The Dalai Lama shares many of these principles in his teachings, but what is really interesting is that the business world is starting to appreciate the merits of compassion and happiness and incorporating the notion of happiness into the workplace.”

On 25 October 2012 Professor Dave Ulrich and Dr Martin Seligman will present the very latest insights for leaders to create resilience, achieve well-being and build abundance.

Ulrich is globally acclaimed and recently ranked the # 1 management educator and guru by Business Week, along with the 2010 Nobel’s Colloquia Prize for Leadership on Business and Economic Thinking.

Professor Ulrich will illustrate how meaning matters at work and how great leaders build abundant organisations.

Seligman is arguably the most influential living psychologist in the world. There could be no better time for South African businesses to embrace resilience. Dr Seligman will discuss the techniques by which businesses can train their employees to become resilient.

According the Dr Seligman and Professor Ulrich, talented people succeed because of their never yielding form of self-discipline – this requires a sense of meaning and purpose coupled with resilience.

Do not miss out on this opportunity to create meaning and purpose in the South African business sector as a catalyst for significant economic prosperity.

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