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Federal Coach: How to be Happy at Work

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and one of the world’s leading experts in human potential, has lectured on his research in 48 countries. After more than a decade at Harvard University, Achor founded Good Think Inc. to share this research with organizations worldwide. This interview was conducted by Tom Fox, author of the Washington Post’s Federal Coach blog.

How can leaders create a culture of happiness?

First, take time for yourself. We have the greatest amount of control over our own mindset. Create a positive habit that takes about two minutes a day and do that for 21 days in a row. In trainings we have people journal about one positive experience, writing about every detail they can remember about a positive experience over the past 24 hours. Or meditate, exercise or write a kind letter to a friend. All these habits increase happiness and retrain the brain to get stuck in a positive pattern for evaluating work.

Sometimes managers get so focused on problems they miss seeing successes and finding the meaning in their work. These positive activities change that pattern and return power to the individual. Along with higher levels of happiness, the success rates on your team start to improve, which is where it starts to move from an individual to leadership.

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