Joy is Contagious

Whining, criticism, and negative outlooks are contagious. But what’s even more contagious is Joy. 

How do you fix employee morale? How do you get people on board during change? How do you get everyone pushing the same direction with enthusiasm and persistence? 

Step one is fairly simple.  I think it was David McInnis that told me, “Sometimes the key to company morale is to fire all the unhappy people.”

I know that sounds simplistic. Even brutal. What if they’re one of your top performers? What if they’ve been with you forever? What if they know where the bodies are buried?

 Every time I’ve fired someone with a negative attitude, I’ve seen the remaining employees take off like rockets. It’s like slicing through the ropes that are tying them to the earth.

Every single dang time.

Joy and possibilities are fundamental outlooks on life. If you can hire a person that views the world as a place of possibility, it’s not hard to teach them the fundamentals of almost any job.

But an incredibly smart or qualified individual with a bad attitude is still just an employee with a bad attitude. It’s a cancer that will continue to eat you alive until you remove it. 

That’s how you handle one or two negative employees. But what if the overall culture is starting to eat away at your foundations?

Sometimes bad morale happens because you’ve stopped leading, communicating, or taking care of your people. Joy doesn’t need to be focused only on the work and the job to be done. I think there’s Joy to be found in people as well. 

It’s easy to see how people are broken. Certain types of people love to brag about how quick they are to realize other people’s flaws. But when people parade their insight and intelligence in that way, you’ll find they tend to view people as the sum of their flaws.

The real magic in life is seeing past people’s unique brokenness to the hope and possibilities they carry inside. Spot that, nurture it, and wake it up in people. They’ll set fire to the world for you.

It’s hard. Believe me, I know. Sometimes you need to cut ties. Healthy boundaries are very real and very important.  But if you can stop seeing people as just their weaknesses, you have the possibility of seeing people truly. You can find joy in working with them and in what you achieve together.

So here’s to you and your magically broken but beautiful self.
Go find the joy in yourself and in your people. 

Daniel Whittington