“People don’t need to be managed, they need to be unleashed”
Richard Florida, 2002
Generation X comes with a set of traits typically assigned: laid back, informal, with a flexible approach to the working environment. They want the environment to have elements of fun and relaxation. Likes: sharing, chilling, being individualistic, flexibility and freedom, involvement, change. Dislikes: Bossiness and corporate culture. As a manager and as a person who is managed, I, too, hold these values.
In academic administration, I have seen many brilliant people crushed by poor management. People who come in with a positive attitude and high energy get sucked in to the gossip, the office politics, the backstabbing, moaning and complaining about everything.
I have been invited to many team-building events that are intended to improve our morale. We have played golf, eaten many lunches, visited an arcade, decorated cupcakes, and celebrated birthdays. I won third prize in our office snowflake making competition. All of these events have been fun in some way. They have all required work to stop while we take time out to bond.
I feel that the two things need to be integrated. We must deliver great service to our students while building the morale of our administrative team. Having fun at work stimulates our courage and creativity. It can relieve stress and eliminate fear. It connects the human spirit to the workplace, and invites people to be the best that they can be in the environment. People are more productive and motivated if they are having fun.
Performance evaluation time is coming up, and one question I would like to ask my team members is “Are you having fun?” Being mindful of fun as a goal will help create a healthy work environment. It will help us all unleash our brilliance and empower us to be the best that we can be.