WorkWise: Partner with your boss for job satisfaction

05/23/2011 11:49 AM

05/23/2011 12:02 PM

According to a 2010 BlessingWhite survey, 27 percent of 2,895 North American respondents correlate job satisfaction with “more opportunities to do what I do best.” BelssingWhite maintains that individuals are engaged in their work if they contribute to company success and have personal satisfaction.

However, the company doesn’t explain why it uses the term “personal” rather than “job” satisfaction when referring to satisfaction on the job. Sanna Coates, vice president of Technology at One Lily Inc., a web and print design company with primary operations in Carlsbad, Calif., distinguishes between the two. “I believe these very much affect each other,” she comments. “Job satisfaction helps increase my personal satisfaction, and vice versa.”

Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” says that “75 percent of job success is related not to intelligence, but to the ‘happiness advantage’ (Crown Business, $25). Optimism, social support and seeing stress as a challenge raises every business outcome. Getting to do what you do best gives your brain a ‘win,’ which encourages progress. This is why getting to use your strengths gives you the emotional resources to cope with or overcome the parts of your jobs you don’t like or don’t do as well.”


It’s no secret that engaged employees contribute to profitability, but it’s difficult to achieve job satisfaction in isolation. Speak with Coates about everything she’s done for One Lily since November, 2009, and she remarks that her satisfaction comes from “the tasks I’m doing, knowing that I’m trusted with responsibilities, which leads to more responsibilities, and the relationships in the company.” In particular, she thrives on “keeping a close relationship with our clients on a daily basis.”

Her boss, president and creative director Angela Nielsen, has run the company for ten years, with a number of employees in the last five. “Sanna dived in,” Nielsen says. “She learned skills after hours to make our company stronger and more profitable. She took the lead.” Coates came on board as a technician, an entry-level job for her launch in the industry, requiring her to maintain websites, but opted to recode a large number of them to meet current standards. “I thought it would bring the company forward and make us an important player in the market,” she says. Later, for, a division of the company, she developed the website, wrote the handbook and created courses.

Nielsen was listening. “She was getting her work done so quickly and turning around asking, ‘What now,’ ‘What next?’ and ‘How else can I help you?’” Nielsen recalls. “She really wanted to dig in and make a difference in the company.” One Friday afternoon after about two weeks, Coates said that she’d like to learn WordPress. The two went to a bookstore to buy a few books. By Monday morning the new employee was saving the company $2,000 per month. She was partnering, not just being an employee.

Nielsen remarks that Coates is part-owner now, that “paying more doesn’t work. It’s praise, connectedness, being enthusiastic about the work she does. And the beauty of it is that it isn’t fake. My clients send her thank-you gifts. Their praise (tells me that) I did the right thing in hiring her. She researches. She’s never refused a task.” She also dug in intellectually, asking strategy-related questions about company mission, direction, new services, target and growth.

There’s no taking a back seat if you want job satisfaction. Consider partnering with your boss.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at © 2011 Passage Media.

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