Last week new guidelines from health watchdog, NICE, urged employers to make sure their staff work reasonable hours and take regular breaks along with other seemingly obvious suggestions that will make workplaces happier and healthier.
Whether your called a manager, team leader, head teacher or supervisor or just 'the boss', good leaders are the key to creating happier, healthier workplaces.
In this blog post, Stephanie Davies, Laughology CEO, has put together her 10 top techniques for being a happy manager, and creating a happy and healthier workplace.
1. Coach and support don’t manage
Managers should understand what motivates each person. This will help build connections between individuals and the organisation’s mission and objectives. Highly effective managers know how to coach and support their teams and will get more out of them by motivating them. Research makes it clear that employees value learning, support, positive relationships and career development above most other aspects of a job. 70% of employee learning and development happens on the job through managers and coaching. So if line managers aren’t supportive and actively involved with their teams, employee growth is stunted which impacts on engagement, happiness and retention.
2. Develop meaningful relationships
Spend time speaking to your team and make time to get to know them as individuals and you learn what motivates and demotivates them. Showing you really care by taking an interest in their lives will benefit everyone. It’s much easier to ask people to do things that may be challenging when you have a great relationship with them and they want to do it because they like you.
3. Focus on strengths and build these
We all have different talents, knowing what these are in your team increases productivity. Some people are better at some things than others. Focusing on who does what well, delegating tasks to these people and using this to your advantage saves time.
4. Encourage and enable development
Developing your team, knowing what they would like improve and agreeing a path to realise this encourages talent to stay and keeps the job interesting and exciting. Personal and professional and development helps individuals find purpose. Managers who help develop their teams create loyalty and are more likely to have teams who love what they do.
5. Work together on setting targets/goals
Employees are ultimately responsible for reaching their targets and goals, therefore they need to have a part in setting them. Ask your employees to draft goals that contribute to the organisation’s strategy and mission, thereby encouraging them to feel in control and autonomous.
6. Continually reward, recognise and give feedback
Good football coaches give continual feedback throughout a game. If they don't players don't develop, improve and adapt. It’s the same with your team. To get the best out of them continual feedback is essential. Even if it’s an informal 10 minutes while having a coffee it is valuable. As well as continual feedback, positive recognition and reward is important too. Again this can be informal and as simple as an email saying well-done, a thank you card, or whole team congratulations. Waiting until yearly reviews to give praise and feedback leaves individuals with lack of direction and unsure if they are doing the right thing.
7. Create time for fun, laughter and humour
Workplaces that promote fun and organic laughter have happier, healthier and more productive workers and see an increase in profits and results. Laughter and humour can improve communication, build stronger relationships and diffuse tense situations. People are drawn to others who laugh. For more details see the blog 'Should you use humour to improve your management and leadership skills?'
8. Make happiness part of your management manifesto
Making happiness part of your culture by actively doing things that promote it will increase team productivity. As a manager you can create your own 'happiness manifesto’ which is your personal approach to increasing happiness and well-being in your team. For more information on what you can do to build happiness look at our blog '10 skill sets which will increase your emotional intelligence and happiness.'
9. Encourage well-working at every point
Taking regular breaks, eating well and exercising are all good for the brain. We know the brain works best when it has had time to relax. Over-working and not taking breaks impact on employee ability to think creatively and be efficient and effective in their thinking. Research tells us that a tired brain makes more mistakes and is more likely to take short cuts and risks.
If you want a team who are high-performers make sure they take lunch breaks away from their desk, encourage them to eat and drink healthily and have a culture where there is a cut off time for answering emails outside of work. The brain needs to rest to work at its best.
10. Talk, talk and talk some more
Keeping the lines of communication open at all times is essential to open and honest relationships being built. There will be times when you need to have challenging conversations. Conducting these in an adult and non-personal way will make a difference to how the conversations go. Also be open to positive challenge and new ideas. Communicating is a two-way street, getting feedback from your team about how you manage and what they would like more of will make the more challenging conversations the other way, easier.
Managing with happiness is a skill, get it right and you’ll have teams that love what they are healthy and more productive.
At Laughology we have been ahead of the curve in understanding the importance of happiness at work. We know businesses are waking up to the power of happiness, because happy people are healthier, more motivated and productive. We have been studying the positive effects of happiness and humour since 2002. Today happiness is a mainstream concept and we mix it with a very special ingredient - humour.
This is at the core of our consulting process and development programmes. We help leaders and managers understand the puzzle of the so-called 'productivity paradox’ believing if we work longer and harder we get more done. The opposite is actually true. If you help people feel happy and engage with them in a positive way the brain actually works better.