The Best Place to Work

The Best Place to Work by Ron Friedman.
The Best Place to Work by Ron Friedman.

Aside from reading books on creativity, I have a tendency to pick books about human behavior and the social sciences. I have three of them by my bedside now, checked out from the library. The one I just finished reading is called, “The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace” by Ron Friedman.

This book was an easy read, presenting research that has been done on creating workplaces that nurture employees so they can build effective organizations. It provides a number of fairly simple ideas for putting research findings into practice. The end of each chapter provides a summary of these ideas, called Action Items, for Managers and Emerging Leaders.

I suspect the term “Emerging Leaders” is a kiss-ass way of referring to regular employees. As though being a regular employee isn’t quite good enough. [Snort.] It smacks of giving regular employees an elevated but unearned title (what is an emerging leader, anyway?), something the book indicates is not effective. (See pages 260-262.)

While the term “Emerging Leader” irritates me, I have to applaud the book for suggesting that work shouldn’t be chocolate-and-roses happiness all the time. In chapter 4, “What Happy Workplaces Can Learn from a Casino,” the author has a section called “The Dark Side of Happiness” (pg.94) that discusses the benefits that come from unhappy emotions. “Negative emotions help direct our attention to elements of our environment that require a response.” (pg. 95) Further, too much happiness brings about “an increased tendency for making mistakes.” (pg. 96)

I’m a big proponent of allowing people to feel and use the negative aspects of life. When emotions are fully felt, they tend to dissipate more quickly. When they are examined, they can propel people to a more positive path.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your workplace, check out this book.