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What’s the Meaning of Happiness

… at Work?

Why not take a few minutes to explore the meaning of happiness at work? What does it mean to be a happy manager? In developing the Happy Manager site we have found one helpful way to think about what it might mean to be happier at work is to think of the happy manager as one who combines managing with the “head”, “heart” and “hand”.



Too often, though, what passes for management can be uninformed, achieving little, and dry, distant and ultimately unfulfilling. Why though should this be a possible and perhaps all too common outcome?

Uninformed, Achieving Little, Dry, Distant and Unfulfilling!

Think for a moment about the implication of any one of the head, hand or heart being missing from the way we manage.

Without the head, that is the knowledge of management ideas, managers might be well-intentioned but uninformed and ultimately frustrating, busy but without any focus, clarity or direction.

Without hands-on skills, they might talk a “good game” but management is not just about what you know, it’s about action, achieving and getting things done.

Without heart, the sense of why managing matters, and how our wellbeing and happiness and that of those we work with, the customers we serve and the wider community of which we are a part matters, then management can be dry, distant and unfulfilling.

A better way to manage is to blend the management of head and hand with the motivation of the heart.

Meaning of Happiness at Work: Head

First and foundational to a happy manager is the need to have learned the knowledge and principles on which to base effective management. It is about developing a knowledge of management thinking, both from ideas that have stood the test of time, and those ideas and insights that are emerging and helping to shape the future. It begins with exploring approaches to good management and then progresses to building principles of management into your practice.

Such an approach is helped by being inquisitive, searching for knowledge, ideas and insight, which then can provide a better sense of what it is to be an effective manager. Never forgetting that management is a diverse discipline and there are always new insights and promising practices to assess placing an emphasis on managers continuing to learn and explore. This is the “head” of management.

An educated manager is crucial to becoming a happy manager, but more is needed.

Meaning of Happiness at Work: Hand

Secondly, a happy manager needs to be good at what they do – they need the basics of management. They need management skills. Management is fundamentally about doing things, about achieving results. A happy manager needs to develop the skills to practice management effectively. The inter-play with the notions of “head” and “heart” is important. How you might develop skills will be shaped by what you know of effective management and why you are managing: the head and heart.

Knowing what to do and how to do it, however, should always be led by knowing why you are doing something.

Meaning of Happiness at Work: Heart

Balancing the head and the hand is the core or heart of being a happy manager. For us the heart of being a happy manager is your well being (physical, emotional, social and spiritual) and happiness and that of others. We believe that the motivation for managing is much more powerful if it comes from an understanding and practice of well being and happiness. This is about why you manage as you do, and the way in which management is practiced, creating the conditions for a happy, healthy and fulfilling workplace, where people enjoy their work and life.

Meaning of Happiness at Work: Bring Head, Hand and Heart Together

Management ideas and insight (what and why) without action is but a dream, and action (how) without ideas and insight can quickly become drudgery. But when ideas, insight and impact come together then we would argue you are finding a better way to manage! And you are beginning to work out your own meaning of happiness at work.

This site will explore ways in which the head, hand and heart can combine to find better ways to manage.
So how does this work out. That is what we explore in our article What makes a great manager a happy manager?


Where to go from here:


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