the happy factor: why appreciation invites success

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Did you know happy doctors perform more accurate diagnosis? Satisfied employees demonstrate three-times greater creativity? And coal miners who feel appreciated by their bosses are 30 percent more productive?

My guess is that these numbers don’t shock you. After all, when you’re happy, you’re more successful, right?

That leads to the question: Which comes first?  Happiness or success? Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher and positive psychology expert says happiness is actually a precursor for success, not a result.

“If happiness were on the other side of success, then every celebrity would be happy,” says Achor. “We’re putting the cart before the horse”¦We’ve trained our brain to think along the lines of: ‘I’ll be happy as soon as …’Within this paradigm, every time the brain succeeds, it changes the goal post, pushing success — and happiness — farther away.”

If happiness is not just a state of mind, but a way of thinking that becomes a tool, how do we teach positivity in the workplace and reap all of the many benefits that seem to flow from it?  I can think of no better tool for asking people to find, acknowledge and celebrate the positive than employee appreciation.

Think of a manager in your organization that’s happy. Do they recognize their team members often?  Do they lead a team of generally positive people?  Are they successful?

When we create a practice of appreciation and a culture that keeps its eye on strategic priorities while encouraging people to constantly look for the best in each other, business success follows.

So is the ability to show and practice appreciation a skill?  Absolutely. It’s one we can teach, hone and benefit from. Appreciation is an essential skill for those who hope to lead others in your organization. After all, what is corporate leadership? It’s finding someone who knows how to assemble a team that can deliver results that matter to the business. And more often than not, the tell tale sign of those most able to lead and win are those most able to observe, enlist and appreciate great work.

By mindi cox
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