Let’s face it managing people can be tough, and despite your best efforts your people may be part of the growing numbers who feel disengaged from their jobs. And while a recent survey has found that many leaders have the technical and operational competencies they need, it seems most lack the crucial people management skills to lead their teams effectively. So given the growing body of evidence for the benefits that a positive workplace culture can bring, could finding ways to make your people happier help to improve the performance of your leaders and teams?
“At a time when technology is creating disruption and uncertainty across most workplaces I believe it’s important to get back to basics,” explained Vanessa King, from UK Action for Happiness and author of 10 Keys for Happier Living, when I interviewed her recently. ”And nothing is more fundamental than being happier – focusing on what enables us to feel good and function well over time.”
Vanessa suggests being happier means being realistic about what life brings and making the most of the good times, whilst finding ways to bounce back when things get hard. She explains that this can be achieved by understanding and investing in practices that can influence how you feel on the inside (like investing in acts of kindness) and how you respond to the external world (like changing your mindsets).
She combines these practices in her ten keys to happier living, which are summed up by her helpful GREAT DREAM acronym.
Where: “G” is giving and doing things for others; “R” is relating; “E” is exercising and taking care of your body; “A” is awareness and living life in a mindful way; and “T” is about trying out and being open to new experiences and continuously learning.
DREAM incorporates: “D” for direction, so setting and being hopeful about your small and bigger life goals; “R” is resilience; “E” is building more positive emotions; “A” refers to acceptance, self-compassion, and an awareness of your strengths; and “M” is meaning and finding ways to contribute something to the world beyond yourself.
So how can you embed these practices into workplaces?
“Programs to help improve people’s happiness at work shouldn’t be focused on trying to fix employees,” explained Vanessa. “They should be focused on helping leaders adopt practices that can create a culture and systems across the organization that is good for people and the planet, as well as for productivity and performance.”
To help make your workplace happier Vanessa shared the following suggestions:
How could you embed the practices for happier living to help your workplace, and the people in it, to thrive?