Great People to Work With

Great People to Work With

Because of what I do, I read countless articles on the topics of wellbeing, happiness, engagement, and other buzzwords, all of which have exploded in popularity in recent years. Most of these articles are highly repetitive, and I cringe when I see yet another on “The 5 Ways to _______” or another about the “Best Place to Work”.  Many of these pieces are missing the point, and fail to actually identify the meaningful aspects of a positive workplace, i.e., people relationships.

Good News

The good news is that there is a growth in the publication of substantial, science-based books and articles covering topics of people relationships for employees to be happy, healthy, and productive.  That includes new books like “The Power of Thanks”, “Dignity”, and “Type B Manager”.  A new Forbes blog article: “Employee Recognition:  Cost-Free to Provide, Costly to Neglect”, was completely on target.

Humanistic Priorities

On this same topic, it’s also time for a shift in determining how to recognize the best workplaces.  Along with (or instead of) today’s “Best Places to Work” lists, what about ranking the “Great People to Work With”?  That thought led me to consider what humanistic values would be associated with a survey to gather data about these principles in workplaces. Here they are:

  • Kindness – compassion, gentle, kind-heart, helpful.
  • Praise – applaud, compliment, honor, celebrate, commend.
  • Thanks – taking time to appreciate, recognize, acknowledge, gratitude.
  • Withhold judgment – listen and hold back on hasty decisions, conclusions, and opinions.
  • Reflective – deliberate.
  • Fairness – giving everyone a fair chance.
  • Empathy– understanding, compassion, thoughts and feeling of another.
  • Forgiveness – giving people a second chance, not holding grudge, stop being angry or resentful.
  • Dignity – seeing value in others.
  • Integrity – honest, truthful, reliable, sincere.
  • Charity – giving, bountiful, community, acts of good will.
  • Contentment – serene, happy.
  • Hope – expecting the best and working to achieve it.
  • Humor – bringing smiles to other people’s faces, playfulness.

Time and Practice

When put into practice, these ideas can have amazing personal and workplace benefits with little if any financial costs.  However it takes personal and company investment of time to learn and practice these principles.  These principles are not second nature for most people, but they can be eventually; it takes education, time, and intent.  It requires practice, practice, practice.  In the long term, this will free up far more time than they require.

Character Strengths

For those familiar with the work of Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman’s “Character Strengths and Virtues”, you’ll notice some similarities.  I wasn’t aware of the parallels until my friend Lee Elliott pointed it out after viewing my list, above. The authors identify six classes of virtue (i.e., “core virtues”) made up of twenty-four measurable “character strengths”. Their work and survey, however, is designed for individuals versus fellow employees.


So what’s for the purpose of this piece?  When thinking about ways to improve employee happiness, productivity and wellbeing, it’s crucial to embed the people relationship principles into the minds and practices of every employee.  It requires little to no financial investment, a lot of self-motivated education, and reaps a huge payoff.  Perhaps someday soon there’ll be awards for “Great People to Work With”.

What would your workplace look like if it embodied the humanistic values mentioned above? How would it feel if these principles were upheld? I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on social media. Thank you!

About the Author

Avatar photo
Gerald R. Wagner

Jerry began his focused interest on organizational culture for wellbeing and happiness started after he had been a Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization and they published their landmark book — Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. Although having a career as a statistician, Professor of Operations Research, and software entrepreneur, the book triggered his long time focus on positive organizations. That resulted in his starting the Institute for Employee Wellbeing at Bellevue University and then to start up the non-profit Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures which publishes Culture ROLE MODELS that features people and organizations that practice virtuous cultures.