U.S. employees continue to express optimism about the direction of their companies and profess loyalty to their employers — according to the second annual employee engagement survey conducted by APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald (12/1/10)*. The survey also indicates that these employees don't believe their employers are as committed to them.
Hummm…Whether you are a formal leader in a company, an informal leader of your work team or friend group, a parent, a teacher, or someone others look to for guidance and inspiration, maybe it is time to take action to support and build the optimism that is within so many people. Become a Chief Happiness Officer.
When people feel free to express their optimism — and have opportunities for fun and happiness, they are better communicators, more patient, and more creative. They are also more productive, more emphatic and healthier as they release endorphins and decrease stress hormones. Successful companies, classrooms, health care facilities and families know that supporting and growing happiness (and the optimism that happiness comes from and generates) is important. Inspired leaders don't take the role of Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) lightly. They continually look for ways to tap into and support the happiness — optimism — of others.
Optimism is a personal responsibility that is individually generated but it can be helped along. Here are some ideas to put into practice immediately:
- Say "that's great!" when someone shares something that is good to or important for them
- Avoid adding a "but" when someone shares an accomplishment or notices something good
- Ask others "What 3 good things happened to you today?"
- Share 3 good things about your day with someone
· Don't make people wait to play until all the work is done — that would be never!
- Use your power to make "recess" regularly available to everyone in your company or family
- Share your fun side
- Tell someone or a group/team what is "good" or what is working, BEFORE discussing what needs to be changed or fixed
- Allow spontaneous fun! If fun breaks out, don't break it off (for a report or dishes) — at least not until some optimism is supported
- Plan fun into meetings, chores, learning, and routine happenings
- Laugh at yourself so others can see it is ok to take yourself lightly (or at least lighter)
- Post signs about what people CAN do instead of just what they can't do
- Regularly talk to others about nothing in particular. This helps increase a sense of sharing that is necessary for positive communication and trust.
The Chief Happiness Officer is not unproductive or goofy. In fact, a good CHO is the most productive and focused of the bunch because he/she uses the power of positive to leverage happiness for more good. Happiness and fun are not a means of escaping responsibility and life (escapism actually doesn't end up feeling good and decreases happiness) but a means of expressing one’s best self and helping the world be a better place. Your happiness leadership is needed no matter what your position in a business or home. Help yourself and others find their "happy" by taking on the title of Chief Happiness Officer!
Erika Oliver, MPA, is a communication coach, business consultant, and author of the award-winning Three Good Things: Happiness Every Day, No Matter What!, Three Good Things: A Coloring Book for Everyone! and Happy Crap: The Power of Positive Assumptions. A recovering pessimist, Oliver is now a Positive Approach Coach who helps people, teams, and organizations find their "happy." She uses the principles of detailed in her books to help people and organizations choose a positive approach. Learn more at www.erikaoliver.com.