Years ago I was told to prop up a small mirror on my desk and to look in the mirror when I talked with people on the phone. The thought was; you are more likely to smile at your own reflection and when smiling the happy and pleasant tone could be heard on the other end of the phone. I still keep a mirror by my phone, research that indicates happy workers are more productive, engaged, loyal and creative.
A study by the Queens School of Business and by the Gallup Organization indicated that disengaged workers had 60% more errors and 37% higher absenteeism. Conversely, Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage, found that the brain works better when a person is feeling positive. And positive individuals tend to be better at solving problems and more creative.
Learning how to create a pleasant working environment that will encourage productivity is critical to your success as a leader. People are likely to work harder when they enjoy what they do and when they like their team members, including their leader.
In the Journal of Business Ethics Rosa Chun defines 6 Positive Practices Dimensions, these characteristics have been found to have a direct link between virtue character and organizational performance, financial or otherwise
- Caring People care for, are interested in, and maintain responsibility for one another as friends.
- Compassionate Support People provide support for one another including kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
- Forgiveness People avoid blame and forgive mistakes.
- Inspiration People inspire one another at work.
- Meaning The meaningfulness of the work is emphasized, and people are elevated and renewed by the work.
- Respect, Integrity, and Gratitude People treat one another with respect and express appreciation for one another. They trust one another and maintain integrity.
How can you cultivate these principles within your team?
Connect with their goals
- Take the time to learn what your team members want individually. Take time to understand their professional goals are professionally and what it means to them personally. Then show them you are committed to helping them get to where they want to go. The University of Michigan’s CompassionLab with Jane Dutton found that demonstrating compassion toward employees fosters individual and collective resilience in challenging times.
- Identify tasks and project that you can assign them that match and support their goals. Discuss how these assignments are supportive of their personal goals
- During performance reviews discus their skills and strengths and how they are moving forward toward their professional goals.
True teams foster each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. Demonstrate your commitment to their success by stepping outside your role and do something just for them. When you are self-sacrificing your staff will in turn be inspired to more loyal and committed themselves and will likely to go out of their way to be helpful and friendly to other employees. Daan Van Knippenberg of Rotterdam School of Management has shown that employees of self-sacrificing leaders trust their leaders more and are more cooperative.
- Before your team will openly discuss their weaknesses with you, you will need to acknowledge your own. Let them know that your only successful when they are; and that you value and need their contributions to be successful.
- Openly share areas where you lean on their expertise.
Inspire, notice their abilities
Even when they can’t see them – be observant. Once you notice an individual’s talent or strength, let them know and be specific. Then find ways to bring out that talent by providing opportunities and training to support it. Stay positive and encouraging, emotions are contagious – they need to be genuine to catch on.
- Looks for soft skills such as staying cool under pressure or their patience helping a co-worker, let them know you notice and appreciate their abilities.
According to Alexander Kjerulf, founder of Woohoo Inc. and the organization’s “chief happiness officer,” happiness is the “ultimate productivity booster.” In his view, happy employees excel at managing their time, make better decisions, and possess other leadership skills.
A smile can go a long way! A positive workplace improves people’s relationships with each other, brings out their strengths and amplifies their creativity. Developing a positive, healthy culture will result in higher levels of effectiveness — including productivity, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.