11.29.13 Issue #612 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Haller, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Holiday Wish List: A Happier Workplace
By Nancy Haller, Ph.D.

Black Friday has now expanded into Brown Thursday. And then there’s Small Business Saturday. Retailers are clamoring for your business. It's notoriously called “the most wonderful time of the year” - yet the stress of shopping for gifts or a special holiday meal can turn any of us into Scrooge. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your staff, promote employee happiness.

There is a growing body of persuasive evidence showing that companies can improve employee productivity, reduce staff turnover, and make more money by supporting employee positivity. Advances in neuropsychology have added rigor and clarity to the picture, while the integration of non-business academics, especially psychologists, into traditional business schools has led to a broadening of interest among economists. As a dental leader, this is essential knowledge if you want a high performing practice. 

Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.

This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe. Consider that Harvard and Stanford Business Schools teach courses on happiness. There is science behind the smile! One study of CEOs showed that positivity training could boost their productivity by 15%, and managers improved customer satisfaction by 42%. Positivity training programs have demonstrated excellent results with tax auditors, investment bankers and lawyers. Despite such amazing results, many leaders remain completely unfamiliar with the concept. Maybe there's a stigma attached to positive thinking and happiness. Too touchy-feely to some.

Being positive isn't about being nice and giving in, nor does it mean suppressing negative information and emotions. Both are critical for optimal performance. However, the 3:1 positivity-to-negativity ratio is the tipping point for individuals and business teams to go from average to flourishing. That is, when you experience and express three times as much positive as negative emotion, you pave the way for excellence and high performance. Most of us (80%) experience a ratio of 2:1.

Researchers at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business studied how positive moods affect leaders. Those with greater positivity were more accurate and careful in making decisions, and were more effective interpersonally. Leaders with positive emotions infect their work groups with similar feelings and show improved team coordination, while reporting less effort to accomplish more.

At Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, researchers learned that when people negotiate complex bargains, positivity again surfaces as a contributing factor for success. Negotiators who strategically display positivity are more likely to gain concessions, close deals and incorporate future business relationships into the contracts they seal. Those who come to the bargaining table with a cooperative and friendly spirit strike the best business deals. Think what this could do for treatment acceptance in your office.

You won’t have a hard time “selling” happiness to your team. When asked what they want most in life, people from almost every nation put happiness at the top of their list. The “science” of happiness indicates that 50% of our happiness is set in our genetic structure. Of the remaining 50%, only 10% is due to our life circumstances and situations. You will be happier with a new car, a bigger house, and those high-tech gadgets…for a while. These are short-lived and are unsustainable. That leaves 40%, and that is where we have the capacity to create happiness. The strategies include intentional activities and mindful actions to savor life’s happy moments because happiness is an inside job. Here’s one activity that you can “gift” to your team.

Ask your employees to bring in photographs, images, or drawings of their everyday moments. It might be a picture of a cup of coffee, a brilliant sunset, a bicycle. Could be a magazine ad with a person sitting on the beach or even a clean pile of laundry. Whatever represents a moment of happiness. Frame a large poster board or bulletin board with a bright border and entitle it, “This Makes Me Happy”. Post the images. Encourage your staff to add to the mural until it’s filled. You can invite patients to participate by creating another board in the reception area. Then watch what happens to the mood in your office, and please let me know. Happy Holidays!

Dr. Haller offers a 1-day workshop, Happiness is a Work Ethic: Train Your Brain. To bring this seminar to your team, contact her at nhaller@mckenziemgmt.com

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at nhaller@mckenziemgmt.com

Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here

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