Focused leaders set high goals and are intolerant of shortfalls. That’s normal. However beware the trap of everyone feeling pressured and no longer enjoying themselves.

We recently spoke with a rowing eight who were under huge pressure to win a regatta. The result – no one enjoyed the race and they came second. Whether it’s in sport or the office, people perform at their best when they enjoy themselves.

There is always pressure in a target driven organisation – but balance this with a sense of fun. When people enjoy what they do, they work out all by themselves how to do it well.

‘Have fun and the money will come’ says Richard Branson. Leadership is about fun, Management is about discipline. Maybe it’s difficult to accept but many of us take business too seriously. Be light. Be bright.

Inspirational Leaders want people to enjoy themselves

When work is all about effort without much enjoyment, creativity is reduced, results and relationships tend to suffer.

BBC TV presenter Professor Robert Winston said “One lesson I learned as a doctor was that you never have a successful ward unless you have a happy ward”.

The maxim ‘lets have fun and get the work done’ really does boost performance.

When did you last ask your people ‘Are you having fun?’

Lead first by example

The attitude and behaviour of the leader sets the tone for the whole organization. Make sure that you are a role model for your organization – your people are constantly watching you and will take your lead to inspire enthusiasm. At times this may mean that you need to pump yourself up.

If the signal you give out is that business is a struggle then think about what possibilities you are denying yourself. If on the other hand you relish the challenge – your people will too. How can YOU enjoy yourself more at work?

Foster teamwork – no one achieves much alone

Working as part of an effective team can be very powerful and motivating. Unfortunately the converse is also true. Even the most self motivated individual cannot maintain enthusiasm and enjoyment if they are part of a dysfunctional team that is not meeting its deliverables.

People want to spend time with people who enjoy themselves. World class teams are fun, exciting and playful – they also demand high performance.

Learn more about LDL Leadership and Management training.

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