Even if it sounds like empty rhetoric, we all need to enjoy being at work. It’s one of the most important aspects in the modern working world. It leads to great results. And of course, managers play a key role when it comes to having fun at work.
We’re not necessarily talking about fun in the sense of a party; it’s simply about getting shared enjoyment out of solving a meaningful task. The phrase ‘fun at work’ gets one billion Google hits. Here it’s mostly about how you can start enjoying work again if you stopped enjoying it and explaining why fun is particularly important nowadays.
With a billion hits already, it would be useless to write about the topic again. However, there is one thing that has changed these times and that does something to a person.
Managers spend a lot of other people’s money and less of their own.
Of course, it was no better in the past. Managers barked at staff, there were strict hierarchies, everything felt like hard work and there was seldom any fun to be had. Yet there was respect and decency in human terms. This has changed somewhat today. With many millions of dollars to back up, there is huge pressure as well as a safety net and second bottom. This is where respect for the individual might ceases to exist. The pressure sometimes leads to activism, in the worst case, burning other people’s money.
Primus inter pares
For me, a good leader has to see him or herself primarily as service provider, paying attention to all of his or her employees and attaching great importance to provide a high level of support to personnel. This is the central task to get the best out of staff for the company. They should spend some time every day considering what employee requirements are important now and in the future. How can I help employee A and employee B get up to the next step on the ladder? What options can I offer her or him in terms of positions abroad? What presentations can he or she hold for my company and thereby grow on the job? Out of the comfort zone- to the next level.
C-level management might think that the best employees for key positions are always to be found outside the company. Most of them are people they already know or those who come from well-known brands. They are taken in by their own advertising techniques. Conversely, for existing employees, this means that they must change company to make a career.
It’s no better if employees are laid off because company development is not working out well as was (sometimes not well) forecasted. This might be a signal of own mismanagement. Ultimately, the supposedly wrong person for the position was hired. The team was not held together and there was far too little communication. The money has desensitized, meaning that some are already filled with rehearsed empty rhetoric, fake and unauthentic.
Superiors have far greater influence on the lives of employees than they know, but could and should know.
This much is clear: The company is not always staffed with the wrong people, yet there is the ability and inability to build a team with the people and to support the individual so that he or she can bring the maximum for the company.
For managers, there is an old saying that still holds true: If you do a lot right, you can’t do too much wrong. The formula here is again quite simple: the success that brings the fun is fun itself.
All of this is well known of course. At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science ;-)