Purpose: A Unique-to-You Aspect of Workplace Happiness

happy workplace purpose Feb 11, 2020

Purpose is one of my favorite topics in the field of positive psychology as it applies to working and the workplace. I’ve always felt that whatever my occupation is, it should put some good into the world in addition to pay in my pocket. So it made intuitive sense when I learned that purpose is a key ingredient in happiness, generally, and specifically workplace happiness. 

Psychologists generally define happiness as the mix of positive feelings with a sense of purpose or meaning. Happiness at work, therefore, is not simply that someone tends to feel more positive than negative* emotions at work. Happiness at work is the mix of feeling positively at work while also finding a meaning in your work that has nothing to do with a paycheck or profits. 

What that meaning is can vary widely. Nonprofit or government jobs are often considered meaningful: profit is taken out of the equation (usually - revenue is actually really important for most), so we assume that these jobs...

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2 Chances to Learn Online This Month!

I’m super excited to partner with PATHZ and Arkin Youngentob, a division of Risk Strategies, to bring you two opportunities to learn to be a better communicator in February.

What you can learn:

  • What active listening means

  • How to listen to understand

  • What curiosity has to do with conflict & communication

  • Go-to questions to ask when conflict is brewing 

 

First up:

Listen! Can You? Listening Skills for Better Problem Solving

Too often, we listen to others while doing something else: composing our response, judging their behavior, thinking about what to eat for dinner, etc. In this live, interactive webinar we’ll talk about what it means to actively listen. That means listening fully, focused on understanding the other person’s perspective, without judgment. This live, highly interactive webinar will include an opportunity to practice active listening with a partner - from the comfort of your own home! We ask that participants use video if...

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End Workplace Conflict with These 4 Steps

As a mediator, and a former community/political organizer, I’ve learned a lot about conflict. I founded Chantilly Mediation and Facilitation because Americans spend more time working than doing anything else - and we deserve to be happy at work. Conflict, while inevitable among humans, can be handled in ways that actually increase happiness.

There are four keys to building a happier workplace, and every one of them will help your employees deal with conflict more productively.

 
  • Curiosity

  • Kindness

  • Engagement

  • Shared Purpose

Curiosity

Your mindset is always a choice: When you can, choose curiosity. Someone at work is in your face, or didn’t do something they’re supposed to, or did do something they are not supposed to do. Instead of focusing on blame or disappointment or the person, start asking questions: Why did they behave that way? What might make them do that? What might they be thinking or feeling that would lead them to do or say...

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Good Meetings: Timing

We all feel like we spend too much of our precious time in meetings. Too often, the weekly and daily meetings expected of us at work drain us of energy, after interrupting us from never-ending task lists.

What would it mean to you if the meetings you participated in provided energy and purpose and direction, rather than just being a big energy suck?

The next time you get to plan a work meeting, avoid adding to employee dis- or un- engagement. Put some effort into make your meeting productive. This is the third post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:

Today we’ll focus on the idea of timing. There are two, complementary ways to think about the timing of meetings: there’s getting the meeting scheduled, and then there’s amount of time needed for the meeting.

Getting the meeting scheduled

...

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Good Meetings: Act like a Host

Like it or not, humans are social creatures. Whenever we gather together for any purpose, we like to feel included. That means feeling welcomed into a space, knowing the names of the people around us, and understanding why we are all gathered together. When you run a meeting at work, it will never hurt you to behave as though you’re welcoming people into your home!

Let’s face it: Meetings that aren’t productive can contribute to employees feeling unengaged or disengaged. But meetings can be productive, especially when you use a little emotional intelligence and give some thought to how you’re going to run the meeting and what people might experience during the meeting.

This is the second post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:

Most modern workers have to be in meetings at least...

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Good Meetings: Purpose

You know this: When work meetings aren’t productive, you run the risk of wasting time and contributing to employee disengagement and unhappiness. The truth is, meetings can be productive; they can even contribute to enhancing employee engagement.

This is the third post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:

Most modern workers have to be in meetings at least some of the time; this series is in part inspired by this podcast that posits ways to turn meetings from sources of dread and drain into sources of productivity and energy.

When I started to study happiness back in 2015, I was struck by the definition used by researchers: Happiness is not just the subjective feeling of joy and/or well-being, it’s that mixed with a sense of purpose, meaning, or that you’re participating in something...

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Good Meetings: Preparing for Potential Conflict

Most of us spend a lot of hours in meetings of all kinds. A friend of mine has repeatedly complained,

“I can’t get any work done. I have too many meetings!”

Unproductive meetings can contribute to employees feeling disengaged or unengaged; so running a good, productive meeting is one step toward increasing employee engagement.

This post is the first in a series of four covering ways to make meetings more productive. The topics we’ll cover include:

We’re tackling the last point first today. We’re all human; we all have emotions; and meetings typically feel like interruptions into our day. This means the potential for disengagement or conflict is relatively high. Hopefully my future posts (hosting, purpose, timing) will help prevent or resolve disengagement in your meetings. For today, let’s focus on preparing for the...

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Family Dinner Disaster: A Conflict Lesson

conflict learning mediation Dec 11, 2019

Learning Moment

The smell of garlic filled the air, tinged with broccoli and melted butter. The floor was slick. Blue, white, and green ceramic shards were everywhere. The silence lasted at least half a minute before my oldest daughter said, “Whoa, that scared me!” She stood next to the open dishwasher. My younger daughter stood next to me, with a stricken look on her face, knowing it was her hand that had knocked the bowl of leftover dinner vegetables from my hand, onto the floor.

My younger daughter had washed her hands and decided to “air dry” them. She had just begun to swing her arms wildly (ah, kids) as I walked into the kitchen carrying multiple dishes with food on them; one of them was the leftover vegetables. My younger daughter’s arm collided with the large serving bowl in my hand, and bam! The bowl hit the floor, along with the broccoli, string beans, garlic, and melted butter.

 

Here’s how I handled it after the initial moment of...

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Kindness Is Awesome

Yesterday was World Kindness Day. Kindness at work is a key to building a happier workforce. What I love about this idea is that it is both intuitive AND supported by tons of research.

Kindness Builds High-Quality Connections 

Jane Dutton researches Positive Organizational Scholarship and cofounded the Center for Positive Organizations in 2002. She talks about high-quality connections on this podcast. A high-quality connection is a short-term interaction with someone that leaves you feeling positive and energized.

It’s those moments you share with a colleague (or whoever) that maybe you don’t know very well, but you exchange a look or share a few comments that leave you feeling that this is a kindred spirit – that this person gets it – that this person gets you.

Hopefully, you share moments like this with friends and loved ones; Dutton’s research focuses on the idea that we all can share these moments with people who are just acquaintances and that...

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New Active Listening Resource!

At Chantilly Mediation and Facilitation, we are all about helping leaders create happier workplaces. Every day, I train managers and leaders on how to resolve conflict, build a happier workforce, and use emotional intelligence at work.

There are several keys to this work, but one of the most basic skills that can serve you well with coworkers, clients, and in your personal life, is active listening.

Active Listening

It’s hard to overstate the importance of an active listening practice at work! Get the guide here .

It’s hard to overstate the importance of an active listening practice at work! Get the guide here.

When I train on active listening, I do a fun exercise where I pair people up, one person gets to tell a story, and the other one has to summarize the story and guess at an emotion expressed during the story - it’s been a hit every time! (So far.)

Active listening because is key to building your empathy muscle, which is key to increasing emotional intelligence, which is basically all about our social interactions as humans. And, yes,...

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