A recent post in Ragan's HR Communication highlighted how to keep your teams happy at work. From the article, "People who are 'happy' at work tend to be more productive, take less sick leave, and stay with their employers longer than unhappy employees." In other words, the key to having engaged team members is keeping them happy. But it's not about ping pong tables in the break room and unlimited sodas in the kitchen—it actually comes down to engagement and trust. At least, that's how I see it.
The article lists four key elements to happiness on the job. I agree with much of what they say, but I prefer to re-word the elements and add my own commentary:
You need to engage the people on your team, find ways to bring folks together in the things that you do. Find a balance that lets people work together on projects. Especially with the newer generation of workers, the days of working in "splendid isolation" are behind us. To make a lasting impact, and to get the most out of everyone, we need to come together as a team.
I've often spoken about effective leaders who share a vision. If you can get buy-in on the vision, if everyone understands your point of view and why it's important to get there, they'll find ways around minor roadblocks. That's what it means to be resilient: happy employees don't let minor setbacks get in the way.
In leadership, you need to understand the three lenses: Strategic, Political, Cultural. And of those, you need to be most careful about Cultural. In making any change, you can have the best reasons (Strategic), and you can have the right people behind it (Political), but if you don't pay attention to the cultural roadblocks, you'll have a hard time finding success. It's the same in building teams, although I disagree with the linked article on this point—I don't believe that you need to have everyone on a team matching the same cultural background just to have the best "fit." But I'll agree to be careful of culture clash as you grow your teams.
The HR Communication article gets it completely right here, so I'll simply quote them: "Keeping a positive outlook is difficult if you're unsure of what to do, or worried about your ability to succeed on the job. Reinforce employees' confidence with praise when they do a good job or show improvement, as well as training to help them keep their skills sharp."