Happiness and Success

There is no magic formula for happiness. It is unique to each individual. What makes me happy may make you miserable. However, one thing I do know is that if you are not happy at work, neither you nor your company will get the best results.

So what does happiness at work look like? It took me several tries to find it. Throughout the course of my career, I discovered that being good at something is not a formula for happiness; it helps, and is a usually a key element, but it is not enough.

Many people feel that more money, a promotion, or a bigger office, will make them happy. Success does not create happiness; however, happiness can create success.

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor describes speaking to children in Soweto, who loved going to school, and saw it as a privilege. They were happy to be there and did not complain about the work load, as contrasted with privileged Harvard students who saw school as a burden and many reported being unhappy.

As a leader, part of your role is to work with people to help them to feel happy about working for your organization. You must create an environment that engages people, where leaders behave in a way that models the organization’s positive ideals. Helping people to be happier and more positive will give you the Slight Edge. There are simple, easy strategies that do not take up a great deal of time. Here are four suggestions that will start you on your way to creating a happier work environment:

  1. Regularly provide people with positive feedback and reinforcement about how they are doing. It can be as easy as making a point of telling someone that their report was well done, succinct and correctly focused on the key points. A small investment of time for a big return.
  2. Allow people to make decisions. This will only work effectively when people have been trained well and given all the facts, so that they can truly be in charge.
  3. Ensure all communication is focused on positives – remind people of the vision rather than the poor economy or poor sales.
  4. Help people to reframe their thinking and to see things from a different perspective.

Practice what you preach. Learn to be more positive and reframe your own thinking. If you focus on being happy it can have a strong impact on your bottom line.

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October 3, 2012

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