Emotionally Intelligent leaders are continually searching for ways to increase productivity and engagement of employees.

Increasing engagement, thus the happiness of the team will increase motivation, morale and results.

BUT is it possible that leaders are undermining their own performance, their team’s performance and their own health by looking for “The Black Dots” in every change put in place by senior management?

Analyzing every change in the business and thinking about what you feel should have been done differently is a complete waste of time as it is outside your circle of control.

The leader who looks at these changes positively and expends their energy by looking for ways to make them work to the advantage of their team and themselves is using their intellect wisely.

Consider these situations and then we will follow them with current scientific research that shows a happy, positive person is more likely to be successful in all endeavors of their life:

  1. You are playing basketball and have a “Free Throw” to win the game after the buzzer. You stand at the line thinking “I’m hopeless at these, its impossible, even Shaq wasn’t any good at these, how can I possibly get this”
  2. At golf on a tee ready to drive over a long water carry and we focus on the water rather than the expansive fairway beyond the water.
  3. You have been told that the way your bonus is going to be calculated is changing in six months time. Do we focus on the black dots of that change or look for ways we can change our behaviors in areas that will advantage us under the new model?

What’s forgotten or completely left out in these situations is the common formula for success “Focus on your desired outcome”

If a person lacks optimism, research shows that he is unhappy, less productive, and not as efficient or creative in all areas of his life.

Surprising research on who becomes successful

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, leading expert on human potential and founder of Good Think Inc., a consulting firm that uses research to enhance individual achievement and cultivate a more productive workplace, says that when you’re positive and happy you achieve more: Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy level rises and every single business outcome improves. He sums this up as the “Happiness Advantage.” Achor’s research shows that your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You’re 37 percent better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed. Which means we can reverse the formula, to achieve success you should work at also being happy.

Happiness precedes productivity and success

If we can find a way of becoming positive, then our brains work even more successfully as we’re able to work harder, faster and more intelligently.

Studies show that most companies and schools follow a formula for success, which is this: If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. And if I’m more successful, then I’ll be happier. Research shows that our brains actually work in the reverse order. The findings all show that success follows happiness not the other way around. People are more productive and engaged at work when they’re wiring is happy.

How can you train your brain to be able to become more positive?

Studies show that in just a two-minute span of time done for 21 days in a row; we can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully. Achor did these things in research in every company he worked with.

His following suggestions apply to individuals seeking to increase their happiness and positivity:

Express your gratitude daily in writing
Write down three new things you are grateful for each day for 21 days in a row. Research shows the brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world, for the positive first, not for the negative. It also showed that this activity will significantly improve your optimism even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly.

Describe one positive experience every day in writing
Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. Scanning the world for meaning instead of endless to-do’s dramatically increases work happiness.

Exercise daily
Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.

Meditate daily
Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking.

Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.

Express daily thanks or praise to a team member
Create one quick “recognition moment” first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support which in Achor’s study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students.

Science has now proven what seemed intuitive to successful sports people, a positive focus on desired outcomes greatly enhances your chances of success. Perhaps it’s time to rethink what makes successful people tick and begin addressing the obvious.


“It’s easier to focus and be creative with more chance of success when we’re positive”

How we look at the world and our lens on life can shift our inertia, we can start making our lives more productive, and happier, by affording more energy towards one’s focus being on the good and not on the black dots.

So, STOP IT!!!

Best regards

Ken Wright

Email Ken – Ken@Engage4Results.com – for a free chapter on leadership from his Award Winning Book, “The People Pill”.

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