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Happy Teams – a guest post by Alex Kjerulf


Alex Kjerulf is the Chief Happiness Officer. We met Alex when he was in Cape Town a couple of months ago. He is indeed VERY happy and full of energy. He speaks all around the world spreading his ideas that work should be a happy place. Alex has a book out Happy Hour is 9 to 5 – be sure to read it if you need some inspiration to be happy at work. We are looking forward to Alex’s closing keynote at the Scrum Gathering in South Africa in October.

Twitter: @alexkjerulf

It’s really simple: If you want a good team, you need a happy team. A team that actually enjoys what they do, and like each other’s company will out-perform dissatisfied, disillusioned and internally conflicted teams almost every single time.

This is because people who experience mostly positive emotions at work do a much better job. We know that happy people are:

  • More productive
  • More creative
  • More motivated
  • More optimistic
  • More open to new ideas
  • Better able to relate to other people

Now, I honestly don’t believe that you create great teams through team building events. In fact, I’m convinced that most traditional team building is a big fat waste of time.

Instead we need two focus on the two main sources of positive emotions at work: results and relationships.

Results is about being good at what you do, reaching your goals and making a positive difference at something meaningful. In short, kicking butt at work feels fantastic and makes us really happy. In happy teams, people help each other out and have a near-total commitment to helping others get better at their jobs.

Relationships is about liking the people you work with. You will spend a lot of time with the other people on your team, and feeling accepted and appreciated in the group makes us very happy.

A team that has great results and great relationships will be a happy team and will do a much better job.

Unhappy teams on the other hand, waste a lot of time on internal conflicts, bickering and complaining. In unhappy teams, people focus on their own tasks and don’t feel like spending time and energy on helping their team mates. This becomes a vicious cycle, making people even less happy and even more prone to bad behaviour.

So simply put: Happy teams perform better. And teams are happy when they have great results and great relationships.