By: Vicki Haverson
Happiness is something nearly everyone wants more of. Yet very few people are spending their days performing to levels that support their happiness and well-being.
There’s lots of advice out there on how to be happier. One area that psychologists specializing in the science of happiness all agree on, is that when we discover and apply our strengths, it increases our energy, positive emotions, and reduces stress. Evidence shows that using our strengths is associated with higher levels of happiness, well-being, and fulfillment.
Our strengths are found where we learn fastest and achieve the best results because we are engaged in what we are doing. So, it stands to reason that utilizing strengths also achieves significant outcomes for organizations, including increases in productivity, teamwork, retention, engagement, and profitability.
Sadly, over 80% of the world’s workforce is disengaged in their jobs, which means they are going home every day feeling unhappy and unfilled. It costs the economy trillions of dollars in lost productivity and can lead to stress and burnout for employees. Read more on that here.
The good news for business leaders is that we all go to work wanting to make a difference. It’s simply the case that nobody has ever asked us to use our strengths to make the organization better.
[Related: Happiness Hacks to Reinvigorate Your Workday]
There has been a skepticism in business about embracing the benefits that come from focusing on ways to increase the happiness and well-being of employees. It is often seen as a soft approach that neither produces results or impacts on the bottom line.
Let’s consider then the extraordinary results that have already been achieved by organizations that have taken a strength-based approach. You might have heard of some of them:
Google, Deloitte, Facebook, Harley Davidson, Wells Fargo, Minter Ellison, Accenture, BMW, Starbucks, SAB Miller, and Stryker
Additionally, think of how some of the future problems that might be facing your business, like how to deal with millennials, attract the best talent, retain your top people, drive productivity, innovation, and deliver shareholder value can all be addressed by adopting a strengths approach. For further information on how strengths can boost sales profit and engagement, see this Harvard Business Review article.
So, how can you discover and apply strengths to make your life and organization a happier one?
The first step is always to understand our strengths for ourselves. Most of us go through life without really understanding or applying our strengths, which means we are failing to reach our true potential and happiness. As Don Clifton, a positive psychology pioneer and inventor of The Gallup StrengthFinder, once said:
“Everybody does one thing better than 10,000 other people. That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of us have no idea what that one thing is.”
Here are 3 easy steps you can take today to start the journey towards discovering your strengths and a happier life:
Step 1: Take the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment, which is a simple, cost-effective way to help you find your strengths and learn how you might use them to be happier and achieve your goals.
Step 2: Review your report. Highlight all the things that stand out to you. Review the action report, which outlines some steps of how you can put those strengths into action.
Step 3: Consider what you find fulfilling and frustrating. How do your strengths contribute to this? Keeping a diary over several weeks will help you start to notice common themes and patterns.
Learning how to apply your strengths is a journey that takes practice and commitment. When you do, it can lead to extraordinary results and a more fulfilling, happier life.
Vicki Haverson is the Head of Strengths Development for Biz Group. She is an experienced strengths-spotter who is passionate about helping change the landscape of the work place through understanding, developing, and applying individual and team strengths.
Originally published at www.ellevatenetwork.com.