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Freedom in the Workplace

As we just celebrated Independence Day in America, we are reminded that being an American brings with it certain unalienable rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is very easy to memorize these words and the rest of the Declaration of Independence and feel a swell of pride.

The reality of these principles in the American workplace, however, aren’t always apparent.

Happiness researcher Shawn Achor identifies that success comes after happiness, not the other way around.

Authentic leaders realize this foundational fact and put energy and focus into creating and maintaining an environment that cultivates life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Let’s start with the first idea of life. While I’m fairly certain most American workplaces do not put physical life in jeopardy, how many can honestly say they seek to provide an abundant life experience to employees?

How many leaders seek to build up their people so their lives are infused with learning and growth?

Authentic leaders help their people feel empowered, developed, and add tools to their toolbox for use during their tenure and after they leave.

Then there’s liberty. Liberty is tricky, especially if your workplace runs on policies and procedures. Even with these in place, an authentic leader will ensure their people are able to be creative and make decisions within those guidelines. Micromanagement in the workplace ensures liberty dies.

Some say that the pursuit of happiness in the workplace is a pipe dream, as work does not equate to happiness. I counter by saying if your employees aren’t happy, or perceive they are not able to pursue happiness, then at best your workplace is doomed to dwindle away to a shadow of its potential and at worst completely fail.

How can you know what your people need? Talk with them. Be with them. These things will become self-evident.

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