Busting Some Workplace Myths

John Krautzel
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Happy workers at the office are essential for maintaining a good, professional environment. Yet, several workplace myths may be counterproductive to keeping people happy in their cubicles for eight hours a day. The happiest employees separate their personal and professional lives, love bosses who are effective leaders and do not want to get over-stimulated at the office.

One common workplace myth is that bosses are responsible for providing happiness to their subordinates. Managers need to realize one aspect of human behavior is that happiness, and other emotions, are internally generated in response to external stimuli based on previous experiences in similar circumstances. For example, workers had stress, worries, dilemmas, family obligations and issues before they were hired, and they will have the same anxieties long after they leave the company.

When an aberrant situation occurs at the office, some employees may feel apathy, fear, sympathy, sadness, regret or joy. What is felt depends on how individuals react to the same stimuli. If 12 people witness the same messy dilemma at work, they feel 12 different sets of emotions. It is not the job of a boss at work to create happy workers. However, department heads can attempt to mitigate sour feelings by maintaining a welcoming environment at the office. Allow employees to have their quirks and temperaments as long as personal issues do not interfere with production and output. When the bottom line is affected, it is time to do something. Some days a boss may lighten the mood and other days bring down the hammer.

Another major workplace myth is that employees love bosses who are "good guys" or managers who everybody likes. Instead of a "best bud" at the office, workers want someone who can effectively lead a team. A manager leads by example, and that person cannot expect his subordinates to have a sunny disposition the entire time at work, which puts too much pressure on the staff to live up to the boss' example.

Instead, managers need to be well-rounded and keep several things in mind when presenting themselves to employees. Quickly dispel the workplace myth that supervisors should be happy all the time by sharing a personal story that is serious, emotional and funny simultaneously. Such stories are lessons that instantly let an employee know that any workplace issue can be brought up freely. Well-rounded managers deal with serious issues on a daily basis, and employees should be able to bring critical office issues to their bosses.

Another workplace myth is that happiness equals engagement. Contrarily, there can be too much of a "good thing" for employees. When concepts are overdone regularly, workers lose interest. Having a staff meeting every Wednesday is good, just do not overdo the same boring routine every week. Mix things up a bit to keep employees interested.

Employees can, and should, find happiness at work. Another workplace myth is that humans become robots in their cubicles. Supervisors do not want to work with automatons but with flesh-and-blood people who have the right passion for their jobs. The office is a possible outlet for finding happiness, yet the workplace is not the ultimate expression of life's joy.


Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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