Managing for Happiness | Jurgen Appelo

Summary of: Managing for Happiness: Games, Tools & Practices to Motivate Any Team
By: Jurgen Appelo


Step into the world of ‘Managing for Happiness’ by Jurgen Appelo, where management transcends beyond the conventional styles of Management 1.0 and 2.0. This book introduces a novel approach to leadership with Management 3.0, envisioning a more flexible and empowering environment that benefits employees, customers, clients, suppliers, and stockholders. It delves into the importance of intrinsic motivation, how to build effective reward systems, delegation, shared values, creating a culture of creativity and continual learning, nurturing trust, and finding alternatives to traditional performance appraisals.

Rethinking Management

The traditional management approach prioritizes changing employees’ behavior and attitudes. Managers are responsible for maximizing productivity and weeding out underperformers. The emphasis is on individual achievement, and competition is encouraged. In contrast, Management 2.0 recognizes the importance of trust and collaboration between managers and employees. It prioritizes employee empowerment, engagement, and intrinsic motivation. Managers are facilitators of team success, not just cogs in the productivity machine. The focus shifts from individual achievement to collective success, resulting in more satisfied and motivated employees, and ultimately, a more successful business.

Rethinking Management Styles

A Management 2.0 culture prioritizes employees and advocates for “servant leadership” to achieve organizational growth. While this improvement from the traditional top-down approach of Management 1.0 is commendable, it still relies heavily on metrics to govern the entire system. The real value lies in the relationships formed among individuals and departments. Nonetheless, both styles reinforce a boss-centric model. Effective Management 2.0 also includes 360-degree feedback and individual goal-setting sessions to maintain a healthy work environment.

Principles for Effective Management

Good management goes beyond financial value, it prioritizes employee engagement and growth. Management 3.0 offers adaptable and comprehensive practices to achieve these goals. This approach promotes flexibility and caters to each organization’s specific needs. Ultimately, successful management results in better outcomes for employees, customers, clients, suppliers, and stockholders.

Effective Reward Systems

The key to an effective reward system is focusing on intrinsic motivation. Rewards based solely on results can lead to shortcuts and discourage a job well done. Managers can promote steady performance with spontaneity and consistent rewards. Managers should publicly recognize good work and engage peers to create a culture of praise. Zappos employees praise their colleagues with complimentary notes and small tokens. Implementing a similar system can be done by creating a cardboard or electronic mailbox and allowing employees to submit praise about anyone.

Break Free from Micromanagement

Micromanagement creates a dysfunctional organization where intimidated employees underperform, leading to a vicious cycle. The solution is to empower managers and workers by dispersing control throughout the organization. Avoid the pitfalls of micromanagement and promote a more productive workplace.

The Art of Delegation

Managers should establish boundaries for decision-making authority by applying the levels of delegation. These levels include “tell, sell, consult, agree, advise, inquire, and delegate.” These levels depend on a team’s capability to handle responsibility and the significance of its decisions. The levels of delegation should be implemented across the organization, starting with “tell or sell.” Intrinsic motivation is the type of behavior that originates from within a person. The delegation levels apply only to crucial decision areas, not individual duties or results.

Strengthening Your Company Values

The success of your company relies on shared values among employees, customers, suppliers, and shareholders. Strengthen your company’s culture by reflecting the values of your management and workforce. Performance appraisals can diminish intrinsic motivation and team collaboration, so rather than implementing new values, concentrate on safeguarding the values stakeholders already share. Identify the values that each group admires and wants to put into practice. Live your values to back them up, as the way your organization conducts business showcases its culture. Traditional bonus systems have little effect in creative knowledge work, so focus on values and ask employees what makes them happy at work. Begin weekly meetings by sharing value stories that will set a positive mood.

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