How Happiness Works Wonders in Your Workplace

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December 3, 2018
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“When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you,” goes the old song. Those lyrics may exaggerate the effects of happiness, but we all know that happiness is contagious. Scientific research confirms that when employees are happy, they perform better.

Shawn Achor, an American happiness researcher, says that if you can raise a person’s level of happiness, their brain will perform 31% more productively than when it’s in a negative, neutral or stressed mode. Their intelligence rises, their creativity rises, and their energy levels rise. And you know what that means for your bottom line.

According to work by a team of Canadian and Korean economists, reported by Christopher Ingraham in the Washington Post, employees are happier when they have a better relationship with their boss — when they view their boss as a partner.

The effect is huge. In the field of happiness research, a good relationship with the boss brings more life satisfaction than doubling one’s income!

Getting to happiness is a challenge we at Align4Profit have been successfully meeting with our CoachQuest Leader-as-coach program. This award-winning program teaches leaders how to create coach-learner relationships that bring out the best in everyone.

In general, coach-learner partnerships create dramatic results. In two studies, 96% of organizations saw individual performances improve after introducing coaching1, 60% saw productivity improve, and 53% realized greater employee satisfaction2.

CoachQuest takes the standard coach-learner relationship up another level. CoachQuest leaders nurture mutually beneficial partnerships with each of their direct reports. They do this by first gaining an accurate and intimate understanding of themselves and others. Then they use this knowledge to adapt their leadership style to influence superior results.

Here are 4 tips for you to consider when coaching your employees while raising happiness based on taking advantage of the science of connection.

  1. Watch the cues you use to engage the social brain: Our brains are wired for social interaction, and we can initiate stronger relationship bonds by intentionally focusing on making a connection when we coach. Smile when commencing your coaching, listen intently and lean into the conversation, focus on solutions vs. problems.
  2. Leverage shared feelings for an emotional connection: A simply phrase such as, “You are justified in how you feel about this,” or “I can imagine you are upset, I would be too,” can create a sense of shared emotional connection and lead towards finding solutions.
  3. Seek out perspectives: Really put yourself in their shoes by hearing their take on any situation and looking at things from others’ perspectives. I’m not saying to accept excuses, but rather listen to their view and consider how they see the situation.
  4. Emphasize similarities and lessen differences: Perceptions about commonality will boost engagement and collaboration. When we find common ground with others and highlight where we agree, our social brain is activated to co-create solutions.

How happy are your employees? Find out. Let’s talk about how we engage your leaders in an ongoing cycle of learning and improvement through leader-as-coach skills to raise the level of happiness, productivity, and profit in your organization.

Sources: 1. De Meuse and Dai (2009), 2. Anderson (2001), 3. Nabeel Ahmad, CLO Magazine


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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.