“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon
According to Michelle McQuaid — a leader in psychology interventions in the workplace — Americans are unhappy at their place of work and they simultaneously loathe their direct manager.
Key points McQuaid surfaced in a study she conducted with Americans include:
- 36% of Americans are happy at their job / 64% are unhappy
- 65% indicate a better boss would be them happier at work / 35% said a pay increase would
- If those polled actually got along better with their boss 55% stated they would be happier at work while 60% suggested their performance would increase
- Only 38% believe their bosses are ‘great’
More ammunition lies ahead.
A study conducted at Indiana University that researched tweets over a three year period also proved we’re getting a lot unhappier. In China, despite a financial boon that has enveloped many citizens in the country, the level of happiness dropped from 28% (itself, not very impressive) to an astonishing 12%. Chris M. Herbst at Arizona State University proved both men and women have seen their sense of life satisfaction decrease over a twenty year period.
The World Happiness Report does us no favours either. In their seminal research, they state:
One striking finding of happiness research is that the time of day when people are least happy is when they are in the presence of their line manager. This suggests that too many managers fail to inspire their workers and rely too much on mechanical incentives and command.
Of course we’ve known for years thanks to the Easterlin Paradox that money doesn’t buy happiness either. For example, in the U.S. gross national product per capita has grown by a factor of 3X since 1960 yet average happiness in America has remained the same since that time. That is, Americans have more money, on average, yet their level of happiness has flat-lined.
Where am I going with this doom and gloom?
And then it hit me.
What if bosses were more like an iPad versus a laptop?
What if they acted more horizontally than vertically?
What if — by swiping versus scrolling — bosses were able to flatten their style such that their team members felt they were part of the solution?
Would we be happier at work?