0863840132 mark@markdonovan.ie

WARNING: ‘Stop trying to make other people happy!

Warning: Stop trying to make other people happy!

My son completed his Junior Cert earlier this year.  As my wife and I waited at the school for our son to arrive out with his results, I watched the concerned and worried look on many of the other parents in the waiting area. I wondering how much worrying the kids were actually doing themselves. My wife asked me if I was worried. I told her that we had provided a lovely home, his own room with a big study desk, a fridge full of food (which he seemed to open more than his school books) and all the encouragement we could. What more could we do?  

How many times do we as leaders worry that our staff are happy. When I work with organisations on building a culture of high engagement and performance, many leaders want to focus on the ‘happiness of their people’.

Happiness and engagement are two completely different things. As you and I know, happy people do not always make productive people. The purpose of engagement is to allow employees to reach their potential while building a culture of high performance.

As leaders it is our role to create the culture where, our people:


  • Understand the purpose of the work they are doing
  • Know the criteria which will be used to measure their performance
  • Have an influence over the planning and organisation of their work
  • Receive information about changes and developments in company policy and operations
  • Have opportunities to express their feelings regarding their work or relationship with the company
  • Receive encouragement and feedback on their performance
  • Have the opportunity to put forward innovative ideas and suggestions


After we have done this, which is a considerable undertaking in itself, it is down to our people to utilise their full potential and strive for that high performance.

Action point for this week: stop trying to make your staff ‘happy’, create the environment of engagement and make them accountable for this.