You Can’t Buy Your Team’s Happiness

Can’t buy me love is a saying that applies in many situations — but you might be surprised to find out that it’s especially true as a business leader.

Let’s say you have a team member that is not happy in your organization. Since you care about your team, you start to believe that you’re responsible for their happiness as their leader. Right?

Here’s a mindset shift for you: 

You are not in control of anyone’s happiness except your own. 

The only things you can control for your team are:

  • Clarity
  • Accountability
  • Career paths
  • Learning opportunities
  • Giving them the tools to be successful

That’s it. You can’t control how their weekends were, what’s going on in their personal lives, or their frame of mind when they show up on Monday morning. In fact, whatever is upsetting them typically has nothing to do with your organization.

It’s natural for you to want to improve morale, but again, the way to do it is not what most leaders assume. The truth is that most leaders try to butter their teams up with ping pong tables, comfy couches, beer on tap, and other useless indulgences — but guess what?

Those things aren’t going to make your team happy.

The bottom line is that if someone is a miserable human being in their personal lives, they’re likely going to be that way when they show up to work.

If they don’t take ownership over their outcomes and view life as happening for them rather than to them, they’re going to react to challenges at work with a victim mindset, rather than a solution-focused one.

That’s on them.

Instead of trying to make them happy, give your team opportunities to become better and more well-rounded individuals with room to grow. You’ll know who your A-players are because they’re the ones who will appreciate it.

You can’t control the amount of effort that your team will put into their jobs and themselves. You can’t change their mindsets unless they want to change. You can’t teach work ethic, just like you can’t teach happiness.

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