Joy in Leaders = Joy in Work

By Dr. Michael J. Zappa

Focusing on joy, especially in work, is gaining momentum. It has my attention! It is clear to me that the mindset and habits are exactly what great leaders have and do and what developing leaders should concentrate on.

It is very tempting for any leader, especially those in healthcare, to focus on what’s wrong, what needs to be fixed. It’s time to view the situation through a different lens…we need to focus on the meaning and purpose of our work. This is a distinct advantage for those of us in healthcare, our mission is making peoples lives better. Joy is not in things, it is in US. IHI describes pride in workmanship as a fundamental right; having the connection to meaning and purpose promotes such pride and is the basis of joy.

Take the Joy Quiz:

  1. Do you find meaning in your work?

  2. Do you feel your work makes a difference?

  3. Do you feel connected to a purpose larger than yourself?

If the answer is yes to all three, keep up the great work. If you or members of your team didn’t answer all questions affirmatively, focus on the leadership skills below.

10 Leadership Skills That Promote Joy in Work

  1. Be a role model.

  2. Show humility and fallibility.

  3. Encourage and seek participation from your team.

  4. Align daily goals with organizational purpose.

  5. Put a human face with the mission of those being served.

  6. Identify barriers to success and help remove them.

  7. Have a report card and share it.

  8. Recognize your rising stars and celebrate often.

  9. Stay visible and connected.

  10. Start individual conversations with: “What matter most to you at work?”

Incorporating these skills will cultivate the joy in you and inspire your entire team. Oxford dictionary defines ‘joy as happiness…so in the words of Mahatma Gandi:

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in harmony.