Why Happy Bosses?

Iver R. Tarp

– Because leadership is about Happy Management and job satisfaction. Good managers create job satisfaction for themselves – and for their employees.

One question remains: Is your organization ready to take job satisfaction seriously? To celebrate and reward those leaders who create positive energy, commitment and job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is good business
Job satisfaction is not only fun – it is good business. Many leaders do not prioritize the positive outcome that is generated by job satisfaction. – But those who do create excellent results!

It is not just about placing job satisfaction high on the agenda for the sake of idealism and your employees. It is about the positive synergy that is a result of job satisfaction.

Happy employees are more productive, innovative and service-oriented. They also take less sick leave and stay with the company for longer.

The road to sustainable success
Too many companies tolerate or reward bad management. At Semco, a company located in São Paulo, Brazil, they do the opposite. Twice a year all 3,000 Semco-employees evaluate their immediate supervisor, and each supervisor receives a score from 0 to 100, which is published throughout the company.

Result: Bad managers are identified and pressured to improve.

If you want your organization to achieve sustainable success in a world marked characterized by an insecure economy and extremely high demands on efficiency and innovation, there is no getting around it:

The leaders must lead happily!

– Iver Tarp, Managing Director, Contea Assurance A/S and chairman at Happy Bosses.

Job satisfaction improves the bottom line

Sanne Opstrup Wedel

By Sanne Opstrup Wedel

Being open-minded, eloquently expressing your opinions, allowing fun to be a part of your daily life and – last but not least – being attentive are some of the most important prerequisites for creating job satisfaction and thereby motivating your employees and achieving good results.

This is the opinion of John Birkmose-Andersen, Chain Manager at Expert Danmark A/S, whose headquarters are located in Soeften in Aarhus.

That is why he has joined the network happy-bosses.com, which is a professional management network for managers who are aware that job satisfaction is the optimal way to obtaining good results.

“Being a happy boss is not about being constantly merry. Not at all. It is about applying a positive and constructive leadership style. It is about maintaining happy and positive relationships and moving people forward through presence and attentiveness,” John Birkmose-Andersen explains. He implements the happy boss principle by prioritizing his ability to be 100% present during scheduled meetings and by gently pushing his employees outside their comfort zone to help them discover their own hidden potential.

“I consider myself a coach who makes the most of the employees’ opportunities by listening, by saying yes or no in a positive way, by acting respectfully and by committing to my employees,” says John Birkmose-Andersen, who was trained in a local Expert-shop and promoted to store manager at the tender age of just
18 ½.

In order to make it as a young manager, he had to learn how to make other people follow.

“A big part of being able to make others follow is about positive leadership,” John Birkmose-Andersen states. He has enjoyed meeting like-minded people through the network, sensing the shared belief that human resources make the biggest difference in any company.

“Some say that you cannot make money by being a happy and positive leader; however, so far my career has proven the exact opposite to be true,” he concludes.

Happy employees achieve better results
Research has repeatedly shown that job satisfaction affects the bottom line. This topic has been investigated by Kai Kristensen, amongst others, who has a PhD in economics and is a professor at the University of Aarhus. He does research into quality management in a broader sense, also looking into the question of what it takes to make employees and customers function and act in an optimal way within a company.

“There is no doubt that job satisfaction does affect the bottom line to a very high extent. It has been documented that there is a very close connection between job satisfaction and customer satisfaction, for instance because happy employees are more loyal and produce better results,” he explains.

With regard to sick leave, Kai Kristensen also quotes a number of studies that document a connection to job satisfaction.

“The better the co-operation with colleagues, the less sick days. Sick leave and management behavior are also interrelated. If the manager has a high level of absence, so does the employee,” says Kai Kristensen.

He also emphasizes that in terms of the value of positive leadership, the leader defines the culture: the most important factor is the leader’s own role and his ability to lead the way.

“So the connection between job satisfaction and customers, job satisfaction and the leader’s behavior, as well as the effect of job satisfaction on the bottom line result within the company has been documented,” he summarizes.

The manager influences the employees
But apparently, not all companies have realized that yet. The network happy-bosses.com was initiated by Iver Tarp, who – until recently – worked as the CEO at Skadeservice Danmark, whose headquarters are located in Hinnerup. One morning he nearly choked on his coffee when he read an article about how serious, reserved and frustrated managers are more trustworthy than happy and positive ones.

“Every manager knows how much you as the manager influence your employees, and that is why this morning event turned into the idea of setting up a network of happy, positive and constructive people who want to focus on the fact that happy managers create job satisfaction and good results,” says Iver Tarp. He also believes that job satisfaction and well-being at work are the means by which Denmark will surpass the rest of the (business) world.

“I am convinced that job satisfaction is a competitive parameter because job satisfaction is good business,” Iver Tarp states, emphasizing that being a happy boss does not mean laughing all day long. A happy boss applies a responsible, positive approach to leadership, and he cares about his employees. This creates an attractive workplace in which the employees trust each other and their management team.

“Perhaps we should implement a requirement for a “license to be a boss” along the lines of holding weapons license. After all, bosses have the ability to make people ill by being distrustful, detached and in a bad mood. In fact, many stress situations at work are caused by bad management. That is why I believe in happy bosses,” he says.


Job satisfaction and top performance

Frans Ørsted Andersen

– “A task that pushes a person to the limit of his or her abilities fosters employee job satisfaction,” Frans Ørsted Andersen, psychologist and lecturer at the University of Aarhus, explains.

Frans Ørsted Andersen conducts research in the area of positive psychology, meaning an individual’s possibilities with regard to top performance, commitment and cooperation.

He says: “The challenge consists in the difficulty of defining the perfect task level that makes a person perform optimally without wearing out.”

Having a happy boss is not enough…
Thus it is also not enough to have a happy boss if the employees are to perform at an optimal level. This happiness must be combined with a resource-oriented leadership style that involves an attentive, open-minded and committed leader who engages in good dialogues with the employees.

– “A vital element of top performance is focusing on the task at hand. Much of our workplace stress is caused by employees finding it difficult to prioritize their time and tasks because they feel a need to quickly update their Facebook profile, send a text message or write an email whilst working on another task and therefore end up leaving work with a feeling of not really having accomplished anything.

If the boss is able to make the employees perform at top level by focusing on the task at hand, this will create job satisfaction, a higher level of productivity and thereby a better bottom line result,” he says.

Identify employee potential
It is important that the manager’s employee commitment is not limited to listening to their skills and desires but also includes the ability to identify their potential. If you are able to identify a potential that the employee him-/herself has not yet identified, you can move mountains.