It’s Sunday night and you’ve had a great weekend. As you start to wind down, you realize you have work tomorrow. STOP! What is the next emotion you feel? Dread, discouragement, and apathy OR joy, excitement, and anticipation? There is a reason that you tend to lean one way or the other. You see, I believe that one of the most common frustrations with work today is a lack of FUN!

When we were kids in school, our best teachers made whatever subject we were studying fun. Whether it was a game, a cool guest speaker, or a field trip, they found a way to make things come alive.

Fast forward to your professional career. Your favorite boss also found a way to make work fun. 

Whether it’s cool contests, crazy ways to celebrate hitting goals, passionate teammates, or an exciting environment, the right boss can make any place the best workplace around.

People typically find work fun when they have at least two or more of the following five things:

  1. Potential – I get to be part of a winning organization
  2. Progression – I feel valued and excited about where my career may take me
  3. People – I am part of a crazy community pursuing a monster-sized vision TOGETHER
  4. Purpose – I am being developed to use my strengths and skills to make a difference in the world around me.
  5. Payoff – I am compensated fairly for what I contribute.

Let’s think back to the Sunday night feeling of dread. I know I’ve had that many times. I’ve typically struggled to enjoy what I do when I’ve dealt with some of these things:

  1. Lackluster Leadership – We serve leaders who are entitled, evoke special privileges for themselves, break promises, and point fingers.
  2. Lack of encouragement – We don’t receive positive feedback.
  3. Low chemistry – We don’t get along.
  4. Losing – We can’t figure out how to win.
  5. Life-sucking politics – We aren’t one of them.
  6. Late communication – We don’t understand, have no voice, and had no warning.
  7. Limited value – We are a number, a tool, a pawn.
  8. Ludicrous compensation – We feel taken advantage of and insignificant.

Do you see it? The list of issues that destroy a fun environment are twice as long. In fact, I could keep going and add more and so could you.

So what do we do about it? I’ll unpack the good and the bad more in the next few blog entries. For now, leaders, study the list, think deeply, and ask yourself if you contribute to the fun or undermine it.