There is no doubt that employee happiness increases employee performance and translates into increased profits, but what exactly does it mean to make employees happy? Does that mean you should just give in to every employee request, or never tell an employee something they don’t want to hear? Does it mean employees should never face challenges or adversity? No, in a nutshell, it means that you need to be a leader.

The key to employee happiness isn’t being a doormat and giving in to every whim of an employee; it’s about engaging in a relationship and creating an environment with mutual give and take, trust and respect so both parties can grow and contribute in meaningful ways to the organization.

These 3 tips will light your leadership path:

  1. Connect with them – Many people in “leadership” positions still believe in the authoritarian style where fear and intimidation rule, that employees will “steal you blind” if you don’t keep a tight reign. In reality this approach is a self-fulfilling prophesy – when you don’t connect, people have no reason to want to live up to your expectations. Especially in today’s rushed, multi-tasking world, people want to be seen and heard. They’re looking for human connections, for someone to really care about what they have to say. If you want to begin to bridge the gap, make a real connection.
  2. Be honest and vulnerable – In leadership roles, we often feel that we have to have all the answers, but the truth of the matter is, you only need to tap the talents and resources of your team and lead them to help you find the answer. The kool-aid of old is to never let them see vulnerability, but if you want to truly lead and build trust – you can’t be afraid to be honest and vulnerable. In other words, if you don’t know the answer, don’t try to bully your way through it, ask for help – you assembled the team because you knew you couldn’t do it alone so don’t be afraid to count on the team.
  3. Look them in the eye – eye contact is a critical element to building and maintaining trust in relationships. When you’re talking to your team, look them in the eye. Remember, non-verbal communications is 55% of the message and when the verbal and non-verbal communications aren’t consistent, people will believe the non-verbal.

Employers can’t “make people happy” they can only create the environment where people can find happiness themselves. In other words, an environment nurtured by meaningful leadership.