Get happy or get out!

Drake Editorial Team

Attitude is the key to organizational success.

If an organization is looking for the true secret to increase sales and productivity, it is simple; increase morale. Rather than looking for or testing theories and unproven research, increasing employee morale has proven itself over and over again as the one true tool that produces the most positive results; it just requires work, thus is ignored. This is essentially creating a culture; get happy or get out, but get somewhere. Creating the culture of “Get Happy or Get Out” is simple but make no mistake about it, it is not easy, which is why most leaders keep looking for the “other” secret sauce that is easier to deliver.

It takes strong leadership and commitment to the process to execute the culture change successfully. “Get Happy or Get Out,” says stop complaining and being negative; either enjoy your job and be a positive person to be around, or find a job that makes you happy. Nobody likes to work with negative employees, but sometimes as leaders we know it is easier to ignore them than to take action and deal with “bad attitude” Bobby or “negative” Nancy. News flash: as a manager or leader of an organization it is your job to deal with them and it is not an option (or at least it shouldn’t be).

Why is a positive attitude so important? What about the people who are just not positive or are naturally grumpy? Do we fire everyone that doesn’t come into work with the annoying bubbly attitude of, “Oh how great it is to be alive and how great it is to work with all of these great people”? No, being positive is not being overly outgoing or charismatic, rather it is being externally happy and pleasant towards others, and it should be a requirement to being a part of any organization.


There are three simple reasons why everybody in a successful organization should have a positive attitude:

  1. Life is too short to be unhappy
  2. Many individuals spend more time at work than anywhere else including home, so they should not have to deal with negative life sucking peers and supervisors.
  3. It increases productivity, sales, customer satisfaction and employee job satisfaction.

The only reason not to, is because it is hard work.


It’s Your JobSo many times managers and leaders make the mistake of defining ‘doing a good job’ as ‘completing a task’. Managers in all industries will consider that if a person does the operations part of their job correctly then they are doing their job. For example, if a man is the warehouse employee and he is early every day, has zero shrinkage and his facility is in perfect condition day in and day out, but he is always negative and complaining and most people just avoid him because he is an unbearable person to be around, a manager may say he does his job well, that he is just a grumpy and negative person by nature. Wrong!! His job is to work the tasks of the warehouse and be a positive aspect of the business. The operational stuff is just part of the overall job description. The actual job is doing the tasks with a positive attitude and enjoying your work.

So many times we feel that only customer service employees should be happy and positive (actually some people don’t even realize that is a priority either). That is a mistake. If a company treats their employees the same way they want their employees to treat their customers they will start to see an improvement in the results. This does not mean that people don’t have bad days and that nothing ever goes wrong, but what it does mean is an employee shouldn’t make other people’s days bad and project their problems on others including customers and co-workers. This culture starts at the top. A leader must first be happy and positive before they can expect it from the team.

How It’s DoneThe first thing is to make it a hard fast expectation for all employees. Second thing is to hold everyone accountable to it. Like most job expectations it must be tracked and enforced consistently. If a person stole money or product from a company they would usually be fired instantly. Bad attitudes and negativity are stealing as well and in fact it is usually at a much larger dollar amount than the tangible things that people steal.

Measuring a positive attitude is difficult for many HR departments because some feel it is not tangible. My advice is to make it tangible by working on the little things. A smile is part of the work uniform. Negative gossiping is not permitted. Treat all customers like you would your mother or someone you love and respect. Every employee needs to be helpful and make it their priority to make others feel special. Being a positive and a helpful person is not always an attribute; it is a skill that can be taught. Show the team members how to walk with a customer to find a product, how to greet a customer, how to share struggles with management and co-workers and how to communicate. Teach people how to have a great attitude and how to be helpful. Most importantly, make this part of your weekly and monthly practice sessions during meetings and trainings.

It Makes the Difference The fact remains that negativity and bad attitudes will hurt a company’s financials a lot more than a poor economy. Creating a positive and happy environment does not mean accepting subpar performance and not holding people accountable; in fact, it is the exact opposite. Hold everyone accountable to exceeding his or her expectations. Constructive feedback and corrective action by a manger is not being negative because the intent is to make them better (or should be approached as such). How the person responds to the coaching is the basis of determining their coach-ability and their attitude. So tell everyone “get happy or get out, but get somewhere”.


Reprinted with the permission of Nathan Jamail, President of Jamail Development Group. Author of the bestselling book, The Sales Leaders Playbook, he is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. Nathan helps individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. www.nathanjamail.com


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