Being joyful is an emotion that seems synonymous with the holiday season. The dictionary describes the verb joy as “to experience great pleasure or delight.” The adjective joyful is defined as “full of joy; showing or expressing joy, or causing or bringing joy.”
Our consumer-driven society promotes the notion that the latest toy, electronic gadget, or clothing style will bring us joy. In the workplace we might equate feeling joyful with a coveted promotion, hefty bonus, or corner office. In reality, being joyful is a “heart” issue.
It grows out of faith, hope, and love. It emerges when we experience grace, when we are fully aware and delight in being alive. Joyful leadership seeks to serve others and celebrate their good fortune.
Today’s workplace may best be characterized as a joyless wasteland. Few leaders take the time to cultivate an environment where joy can thrive. Perhaps they believe that being joyful will distract from the important tasks of analyzing, processing, and producing. Without joy, the workplace will be home to persons struggling with doubt, anger, and loneliness.
In the famous Dr. Seuss poem, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, the poet diagnoses the cause of the Grinch’s hatred for the holiday as a “heart problem.” His lack of joy is captured in these words:
“It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”
It wouldn’t take much for leaders to be more joyful. Simply expressing genuine gratitude would be an easy place to start. Leaders could also…
- Engage employees more deeply in decision-making.
- Celebrate successes.
- Practice better listening skills and act quickly to address concerns.
- Create a compelling vision and engage employees on the quest to achieve it.
- Nurture stronger workplace relationships.
How many of today’s leaders shun the heart when making decisions? What price is paid for failing to consider the impact of words and actions?
The Grinch’s skillfully executed Christmas Eve plan to deprive Whoville of its holiday trappings and spoil the celebration didn’t work. The residents were still joyful because decorations and gifts don’t define the season.
It’s relationships with family and friends, knowing we are loved, and sharing with others that gives Christmas meaning.
In that instant, the Grinch was transformed. The poem describes it this way:
“And what happened then? Well…in Whoville they say,
That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!”
Every organization needs leaders willing to examine their actions and allow their hearts to grow a few sizes larger. Joyful leadership could transform companies, families, and communities.
Unlike the Grinch, you won’t need to carve the roast beast.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com