It sounds simple: to keep your accountant happy, keep the team happy.

Don’t think of happiness as merely some touchy-feely, tree-huggy topic. Happy staff means more money earned and saved. It's as simple as that.

Productivity, engagement and happiness

Want some figures?

The Gallup organisation has shown that retail staff who score higher on life-satisfaction tests generate nearly $300 (NZD) more income per square metre of floor space on average. They are also more resilient, so when things get difficult, they are problem-solvers, not victims. Customers rate them higher too.

Then there’s the productivity issue. Happy staff are engaged. They achieve more and come to work more often - an average of 15 days more each year. (Engaged staff are happier too and you can foster engagement in powerful ways that will won't trouble your accountant.)

There's a strong genetic element to happiness, but most people can learn ways of improving their happiness quotient.

So what do I do to keep them happy?

It's not your job as a leader to ensure that they never have a bad day.

Happiness can be trivial - a sense of fun, a good joke. They should be part of our lives, but let's take a wider view of happiness and focus on life-satisfaction.

Help your team develop a sense of mission by seeing the ways their work benefits their colleagues or your customers.

Help them feel good about coming to work by encouraging them to make decisions and work closely with others. Develop their competence with training, mentoring and achieving reasonable targets. That combination is at the heart of life satisfaction and a powerful motivator.