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Is a Happy Team a Motivated Team?

Happiness is often equated as the key to leading a successful life; however, it is unclear why and how happiness and motivation are linked. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Linda Bourne explores how happiness and motivated team performance are linked, and how to make this work for you.

Happy to Work Hard?

It is very evident that being unhappy causes an extreme hindrance on motivation. Imagine if your dog ran away, your significant other left you, and your favorite pizza shop went out of business all in the same week. The likely result would be soul-crushing despair, and a significant drop in your productivity at work. However, despite this, happiness is not necessarily a motivator in and of itself. Bourne proposes instead three possible scenarios:

  1. When a team is motivated, the likely result is a happy workplace for all.
  2. Happiness and motivation are individual entities that can be influenced by the same factors.
  3. Happiness is an important aspect to creating a motivated team.

In an example from an Australian cricket team, the third option can be seen as important. The coach reintroduced “fun” on the team, and ever since then the team has been reaping sweet success. However, one could also argue that “fun” merely motivated, and the actual success of the team created happiness. Perhaps this situation is a hybrid of the two ideals.

Happiness itself is a difficult concept to eloquently articulate because it is so personal to each and every person. Having that coveted slice of pizza from a local pizza shop may bring immense joy to one person but conflicted feelings of guilt to someone else. There is additionally the factor of biology that can work against a person and their happiness.

In order to utilize happiness as a motivator, you need to be aware of unhappiness and understand that seeking happiness is fruitless. Happiness can sprout up when goals are clearly set or hard work is recognized.

You can read the original post here: http://www.projectmanagement.com/blog/Voices-on-Project-Management/19481/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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