7th Principle of Happiness At Work:

• We can increase our Happiness At Work by developing expertise in specific skills, especially ...

Appreciative Inquiry ~ the orientation and ability to deliberately look for and understand what is already good and working well. Linked with optimism, this is nevertheless a realistic inclination towards what is positive that does not cause us to become deaf and blind to problems, threats and challenges, but rather helps us to build our confidence, capacity and resourcefulness in facing them.

Creativity ~ we include under this heading a combined set of capabilities including imagination and original thinking, experimentation & risk taking, problem solving & collaboration, and challenging & questioning. We are all creative beings and using our creativity is fundamental to our feeling we are able to contribute something special and valuable to the world.

Extraversion and Introspection ~ a balanced approach that relies equally on the extravert qualities of being forthcoming, open and energetic, forming connections with and showing real interest in other people, with the more introspective qualities of reflection, meditation, stillness and waiting. Both are critical to our happiness and we need to know what we already do ‘naturally’ and what we can profit from learning to do more consciously as a deliberate skill.

Listening ~ perhaps one of the most underrated and vital activities we can bring to not only add significantly to other people’s happiness, but to our sense of wellbeing, control and influence just as much, this is the ability to be truly and fully alert in the present moment to everything there is to hear and notice. Rather than the absence of talking, it is a very active and often demanding skill.

~ the ability to know ourselves well and to be able to see ourselves in the same ways as others do. Just as self-awareness is central to our learning, so too is this capability fundamental to our ability to influence and enhance our own happiness. We can harness our self-mastery through building our self-confidence, our self-management, our understanding and ability to play to our strengths and preferences, and through live performance capabilities such as assertive communications and speaking with authority, and thinking and being able to improvise on your feet.

Leadership Skills ~ especially the communication skills of being able to influence, advocate and enthuse, and being able to help people to navigate their way successfully through change. Feeling we are heard and that we are able to make a real contribution to something truly worthwhile is critical to our Happiness At Work, and so these skills are important for all of us, whether or not we have formal leadership responsibilities.

Team Working ~ making good relationships with the people around us is just as much at the heart of our Happiness At Work as it is for our happiness in life, and demands that we use team working knowledge and expertise in response to whatever the actual dynamics and personalities of the people we work with. An effective team means the same thing as what we all need to feel Happy At Work: that we are an essential part of a group of people who need each other to achieve something that we really care about.

Resilience ~ like happiness, this is another word that is getting a lot of concentration and attention amongst politicians and policy makers at the moment, but perhaps the importance of both have yet to be properly recognised in work situations. Defined in terms of stamina and the ability to bounce back from disaster, resilience is as absolutely vital to our creativity as it is to our Happiness At Work. We can grow it from skilled reflective practice and developing the ability to find out the potential learning when things go badly, and developing an optimistic outlook that can teach us how to make the best out of things, whatever happens.