There was a study that said “Happier people are able to choose better partners because they perceive themselves as better looking ” and  “(they) also earned more money at work!”   I imagined then that happier people are better able to choose a job that fits them well because they know what they want more clearly, and this translates to better productivity.  Just like choosing a partner in a relationship. If you know you deserve better, you wouldn’t settle, right?  And in the end, you will probably get what you want and you also wouldn’t mind waiting.
           
The best performing companies in service industries would often emphasize the importance of having happy employees, who will perform better because they are satisfied with their jobs and their teams and therefore, can delight more customers leading to customer loyalty and eventually, more profit.  To perform well, these frontline employees need to be supported by an also happy back office support of operations, IT, finance, HR, etc. so they can serve their happy customers even better.
           
What is the boss’ role in corporate happiness?  There was a 2009 Swedish study that tracked more than 3,000 men over a period of 10 years which revealed that those with “bad bosses” suffered anywhere from 20 to 40 percent more heart attacks than those with “good bosses”.  Clearly, a leader’s attitude, behavior or mindset impacts the entire organization so much, thereby affecting and dictating the culture and performance levels of his team, and even more seriously, as this study shows, even his people’s mortality.
           
This leadership effect can be applied in all aspects of society --  from the smallest unit of family to the immediate neighborhood, high school gangs to college fraternities, the smallest barangay to the highest levels of government.   And to further emphasize the dichotomy, we could describe the opposite of good and happy when we look into the effects of divorce, child abuse, murder, hazing, graft and corruption. 
            
Happiness is not a common thing to be read in the same sentence as strategy or innovation, peace and order or rule of law, neither do we often have a leader talking about happiness as a goal or as in incentive.    They might say that achieving sales quotas will make everyone happy, but it is said as a consequence rather than as the cause or source.
           
How do we define happiness?
 
            Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard professor, defined happiness as  the overall experience of pleasure (which gives a present benefit) and meaning (which leads to a future benefit)
 
            Many successful entrepreneurs are naturally positive people who do not mind working 14 hours a day (or more) because their work gives them both meaning and pleasure.  Their love for their work and the promise of success are enough to fire their passions.   We could compare these hardworking entrepreneurs with social workers and medical volunteers who are able to transform lives through selfless acts of kindness, giving up their own personal time or even risking life to help those in need. 
 
            I had the opportunity to be part of an international medical mission of Operation Smile held in Iloilo first week of March.  Almost 300 children needing cleft lip or palate operations came for treatment from a team of over 50 medical professionals and volunteers from Russia, China, Australia, Egypt, the US, including Filipino doctors and nurses.  From March 3 to 9, they were able to help around 150 children have better smiles, have better self-esteem, have better lives.  These volunteers were away from their families for almost two weeks, but clearly, the psychic and spiritual rewards were inestimable. 
 
            Operation Smile started here in the Philippines 30 years ago when two American volunteers, Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee felt “the guilt” of not being able to help the hundreds of children with cleft lift and palate who were turned away for lack of time and resources.  They came back and since then, their noble leadership has helped over 150,000 children in over 60 countries and continues to inspire many volunteers and donors all over the world.
 
            Why do people do good?  Because it makes them happy.  Can you imagine if we ask why people work well and the answer is – because it makes them happy?  Imagine what our workplaces will be like, and more importantly, what our country will be like?
 
            Despite busy lives and hectic schedules, try to spare some time doing good for others and for each other.  It is good for our businesses, our bodies and souls and our nation’s spirit.
 
Chiqui Escareal-Go is the CEO and Chief Service Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc.  For inquiries, please email info@mansmith.netor call (02) 584-5858 or (02) 412-0034.