Servant Leadership Workplace-Joy

Joy at Work

Joy at work? You think I’m joking, don’t you?

Well, I’m not joking.

I know it’s possible to experience joy at work. I know joyful workplaces exist. I’ve been there.

That’s why I’m so committed to servant leadership.

Servant leadership brings three things to the workplace: meaning, prosperity – and joy.*

I see meaning as the starting point. Companies practicing servant leadership are “meaning-driven.” They provide things beyond a paycheck, things that people value very deeply. Meaningful things like purpose, belonging and personal growth.**

Companies practicing servant leadership also tend to have superior employee engagement. You can find them on the Forbes “Best Places to Work For” list.

And it’s no coincidence that none of the companies on the “Best Places to Work For” list are in bankruptcy.

Indeed, when it comes to business, most of those companies are kicking . . . kicking . . . butt.

Because, as I see it, a company’s prosperity often follows from providing meaning to a well-engaged staff.

So, picture a company that provides its team members with meaning – purpose, belonging and personal growth. The company is growing. Sales and profits are up. The conditions sound right for . . .

. . . joy!

Joy is an emotion evoked by well-being and success.

It’s experienced working with good friends.*** Joy is found in wining a sale, finding a creative solution to a problem or providing great customer experience. I could provide countless other examples. It’s hard to define joy fully. But you know it when you feel it.

You also know an emotion sometimes considered the opposite of joy:


Unfortunately, I’m afraid that fear is more common in the workplace than joy.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Servant-leaders drive fear out of the workplace.

Wouldn’t it be great to work in a place with joy instead of fear?****

It’s possible. Let’s make it happen!

What do you think? Am I crazy to expect that we can experience joy at work?

Let us know.


As always, we appreciate your views.


* See what you think of this post: “Want More Meaning, Prosperity and Joy?”

** More on meaning at work: “3 Things that Make the Workplace Meaningful.”

*** To measure employee engagement, Gallup asks 12 yes-no questions, including: “I have a best friend at work.” I am certain that those who have good friends at work experience more joy than those who don’t. Indeed, some of my most joyous moments have been with my friends at work (you know who you are!)

**** Not that every day at a servant-led organization is a day at the beach. Stress is to be expected. The most successful organizations experience stress because they are always seeking to improve, to take risks and to expand out of their organizational comfort zones. No pain, no gain; but, as I see it, that gain often leads to joy.