Tag Archives: #Followership

Kids These Days

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In 2014, there were over 77 million Millennials between 22 and 34 years of age. The number of Boomers is roughly the same. Each of these generations outnumbers the Gen Xers by about 68 percent. The large size of Generation Y suggests it is likely to have as significant an impact on the culture, and in particular on the workforce, as the Boomers did.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, a number of myths about Generation Y have emerged. The six most prevalent are:

  1. Millennials feel a sense of entitlement.
  2. Millennials expect to be rewarded, and even promoted, just for showing up.
  3. Millennials do not work hard.
  4. Millennials do not complete their work and will not take initiative.
  5. Millennials are casual and disrespectful.
  6. Millennials are not willing to do their part and pay their dues, and they want freedom, flexibility, and work-life balance as soon as they begin their careers.

To be able to work with and manage Millennials, Boomers and Gen Xers must discover the truths behind the myths. Additionally, Millennials must do their part to understand why their older coworkers are frustrated.

Generation Y is the first “digitally native” generation. Its members have grown up with technology touching almost every part of their lives. This technology has fostered a sense of immediate gratification. Technology has also contributed to a different concept of time and place for Millennials. They can connect with anyone at any time, and access any information they want when they want it.

Millennials are also the most educated generation in the workplace today. Caraher blames grade inflation by colleges and universities for a part of the problem concerning Millennials’ work ethic. Secondary education has labeled most Millennial graduates as above average and allowed for negotiation with grades and feedback. Such practices have not helped others’ reservations regarding this generation’s ability to get work done. Parental over-involvement also hinders Millennials’ job satisfaction and tenacity.

Given that Millennials will constitute nearly half of the workforce by 2020, companies need to understand, appreciate, and effectively work with them without changing their standards of performance.

BE THE BEST PERSON YOU CAN BE

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Achieving personal goals comes from fully applying oneself in every situation. This is what earns the trust and respect of others that will catapult an individual to a position of greater responsibility. A positive work ethic gets results and is contagious. If expectations are not being met, an individual should ask the right questions, find the answers, and make the necessary changes. If expectations are being met, an individual should push to exceed them. Individuals should never become complacent.

Getting Organized and Getting Things Done

As an individual’s success at achieving goals grows, so do his or her responsibilities. Good organization and time-management skills become increasingly important. While each person might have a different process for staying on track, every individual must develop one. Planning ahead, setting priorities, and communicating well should be part of this process.

Being organized includes:

*Creating a regular, daily routine.

*Establishing a reminder system (for meetings, deadlines, etc.).

*Making allowances for the unexpected (flexibility is key).

*Breaking projects into manageable “chunks.”

*Eliminating distractions.

Spotting an Opportunity and Standing Out

Opportunities to excel are not always obvious. Networking and taking on “out of scope” tasks (with a manager’s permission) can yield hidden gems of opportunities that otherwise might not have surfaced. When presented with an opportunity, individuals should not let fear of failure stand in their way. They should fearlessly grab hold of opportunities as they come along–it will be noticed.

Some ways to bring about more opportunities include:

*Networking across the business.

*Earning a reputation as a “go to” person.

*Being analytical and always asking “why.”

*Speaking up and sharing thoughts, ideas, and initiatives.

*Leveraging chance encounters and talking to strangers.

*Taking novel approaches.

Sucking It Up

No matter how good a job might look from the outside, sometimes it turns out to be not as good from the inside, but that is no reason to quit. A willing and learning attitude that transcends difficult relationships and unrewarding tasks can result in great returns in the future. If nothing else, “sucking it up” builds character.

Below are some ways to view a bad situation differently:

*Be introspective and recognize the opportunity to learn.

*Be decisive and take action–get things done.

*Set out to win over challenging people.

*Keep emotions in check and always present a professional and positive countenance.

Pushing Back and Saying “No”

Often, new employees who are eager to please are taken advantage of and end up taking on too much. Learning to say “no” is an important part of being a productive employee. However, saying “no” is contextual. The method will vary depending on whom the request is coming from.

*Requests from peers. Clearly but politely communicate current priorities, deadlines, and commitments. This conveys that a “no” is not personal, but is tied to organizational goals.

*Requests from senior employees. These requests can trump one’s current projects. The individual should make sure he or she has a clear understanding of the request’s requirements and impacts on current projects, and then vet the request through his or her first line manager. If the request is from an individual’s manager and competes with other responsibilities, it is time to sit down and review priorities with that manager.

*The request seems inappropriate. Early on, it can be difficult to have the expertise or authority to know what is an appropriate or inappropriate request. This knowledge comes with experience. It is fine to ask questions and respectfully offer alternatives. However, a managerial edict (in the absence of an ethical or legal transgression) should be followed.

Ways to make saying “no” more productive include:

*Recognizing that the act of saying “no” is hard.

*Earning the right to say it by having built a good reputation as a hard worker.

*Understanding exactly what the request requires.

*Looking for alternative solutions to help solve the problem.

*Enlisting others to help in meeting the request.

*Communicating the reasons for saying “no” clearly and respectfully.

*Not becoming confrontational.

*Turning down the request in person.

Working Out When to Leave

The time to leave a job is when the opportunities to learn, develop, and make unique contributions end. It is very important not to leave prematurely or for reasons one has control over, such as difficult relationships or mastery of the position.

Individuals sometimes stay in jobs when they should move on because they feel comfortable in their roles, they are earning a lot of money, or they simply like their coworkers. While these are attractive features, in the absence of ongoing challenge, growth, and development, they can actually hold individuals back from progressing in their careers.

Before deciding to leave a job, employees should make sure to:

*Clearly identify what the undesirable aspects of the job are to determine if there is opportunity for change.

*Evaluate whether or not there are continued opportunities to learn and grow.

*Determine if there is only one overwhelming negative issue and, if so, take steps to resolve it before leaving.

*Seek counsel from a trusted friend or family member to get perspective.

*View the situation within the larger picture of life.

*Consider how the circumstances would be interpreted in a résumé or interview.

If at all possible, employees should resolve the situation and leave on a “high note.”

HOW TO BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE

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SELF-CONFIDENCE TOOLS AND STRATEGIES

Success in the workplace is tied to self-confidence, which is a key competency in the self-awareness cluster of Emotional Intelligence. According to the author, “a confident leader exudes a strong self-presentation and expresses him or herself in an assured, impressive, and unhesitant manner.”

Henry Fisker, the CEO of the luxury car company Fisker Coachbuild LLC and one of the leading automotive designers, is a Star Performer full of confidence. He is profiled in detail, and shares his 10 Secrets & Current Practices that make him a successful, top performer:

1. Take Private Time. Fisker takes one hour and a half each day at lunchtime to exercise and contemplate problems. He explores different angles and solutions until he gets a “feeling” and decides the best course of action.

2. Get Third Opinions. He believes it is valuable to solicit and get others’ viewpoints even if he is confident in what he thinks.

3. Evaluate Capacities. Fisker makes it a regular practice to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his team. He then understands individual capacities and when he needs to make a decision he is able to delegate tasks based on strengths.

4. Shoot From The Hip. Fisker believes that employees do not like to be over-managed, and want to feel motivated. He therefore prefers the perception of quick and firm decisions like ‘shooting from the hip.’ His decision making process is in fact more calculated and he relies on the first three secrets to base his decisions and empower his team.

5. Go With That Gut Feeling. Fisker advocates this visceral approach as it allows for quick decision-making and is more accurate than logical thinking. All experiences have an emotional component.

6. Take Initiative. Taking initiative defines a Star Performance based in confidence. After the ‘gut feeling,’ Fisker evaluates the risks associated with it and if deemed appropriate takes action.

7. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses. Leaders should be cognizant of their weaknesses. He defines weaknesses as “things you could do, but don’t like to do.” Preferring to lead with his strengths and excel, he delegates to others things he likes to do the least. This keeps him “energized, creative, and competent.”

8. Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes. Fisker promotes leaders being honest with themselves and admitting to their mistakes in order to learn and grow. Being responsible for one’s actions leads to clarity and less problems down the road.

9. Reinforce People. Fisker is adept at motivating his team members. He asks questions to stay abreast of what they think and do. By engaging them, he is able to recognize and support their hard work.

10. Be Willing To Make Decisions That Are Exceptions To The Rule. Being successful at times means not following the rules and procedures. Fisker asserts that a leader needs to weigh the consequences of a decision, decide if it is worth the risk, and then act on it.

To emphasize, Nadler offers ten proven strategies to try and further improve self-confidence:

* Being On Your Case Vs. Being On Your Side. Many leaders have defective evaluation systems, are overcritical of their own performance, and rarely satisfied with their own success. “Being On Your Own Case” leads to erosion in self-confidence, unhappiness, and unintentional treatment of others in the same way. A faulty evaluation system can be changed by reframing it to “Being On Your Side” and will result in improved confidence and greater awareness of how an individual evaluate their self and others.

* Reflections on Thinking. It is common to have an internal dialogue. According to the author, the issue is the type of internal questions that are asked. Negative questions such as “Why didn’t I say something smart at the meeting?” produce negative answers, which heavily erode confidence. Paying more attention to the internal questions will help to take control of negative self-talk.

* Busting Perfection: Creating Realistic Expectations. Perfectionism is a form of self-evaluation that stunts performance and sets leaders up for failure and frustration. There is a ‘perfection loop’ where unrealistic expectations are set without critical thinking that creates an unconscious pattern of failure. One must become aware of the unproductive pattern, understand the steps that cause it, and know how to break the cycle. The goal is to set realistic and attainable expectations.

* Success Rules: Who Is Running You? Many leaders are living by rules for being successful that are outdated, rigid, and over-generalized. This unconscious behavior can be re-programmed to enhance self-confidence otherwise there will be feelings of dissatisfaction and failure. Writing down and becoming aware of the rules that drive performance is an important first step.

* Success Log. Nadler advocates writing a success log chronologically with age brackets. The goal is to get a clear picture of many successes in life which are sometimes forgotten or minimized. Reviewing the list builds confidence.

* Current Success Log. The next strategy is to keep a current log of daily or weekly achievements and successes, and after a few months to analyze it to define personal strengths.

* The Five Pivotal People In Your Life. Another useful tool to build confidence comes from Dr. Phil McGraw. He believes that each of us have five pivotal people who represent a positive force, and contribute to a sense of self-confidence and worth. It is useful to write these people down, and reflect on their influence.

* Visualization. Regularly visualizing and mastering the most challenging situations as leaders will improve confidence. This practice creates neural pathways that make the actual performance more natural.

* Decisiveness. Strong leaders act as consensus builders. It is better for leaders to delay sharing their opinions early in the decision-making process and take the role of facilitator with the group. Their views can come out at the end of the process, bringing all the information together, resulting in a better decision. Decisiveness then requires a timetable and action.

* Thin-Slicing. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, coined the term ‘thin-slicing’. He defines it as “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on narrow slices of experience.” Very successful executives are adept at utilizing intuition when reaching decisions, and it is a skill, argues Gladwell that can be cultivated by others.

Cognitive Learning

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Six cognitive strategy groupings can speed up learning, improve learner retention, and accelerate the learning process. Cognitive strategies are the

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Session with Anubha Maurya W and become Trainer and OD Professional with PRISM course

thought processes with which people study and learn. Unlike metacognitive skills, which are higher-level functions, cognitive strategies are applicable to specific, practical learning situations. Good learners use a variety of strategies in the classroom

The six cognitive strategies for learning are:

1. Clustering: The student arranges data for easier grasp and retention.

2. Spatial: The learner arranges information visually in a way that makes it easy to understand and remember, like organizing steps into a flow chart.

3. Advance organizers: The instructor provides brief introductory information that helps the learner visualize the upcoming coursework.

4. Image-rich comparisons: The learner utilizes analogies, metaphors, and literal comparisons that bridge past knowledge with new learning.

5. Repetition: Learners practice content until they learn it, as when students learn their multiplication tables.

6. Memory aids: Learners use words, letters, or images in easy-to-remember ways that enhance retention of more complex subject matter

10 HABITS for TIME MANAGEMENT

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Ten Habits That Promote Time Efficiency 

1. Start the day early. Since most people are more productive in the morning, Zeller recommends getting up a half hour to an hour earlier than usual.

2. Plan for the next day. Allocate time each evening to set up for the next day. Planning should incorporate both personal and work obligations.

3. Pay attention to health issues. Eat a healthy diet and have small frequent meals throughout the day to maintain energy. Exercise is also important. Scientific research proves that exercise stimulates chemicals that promote positive thoughts. Also be sure to get enough sleep each night.

4. Set aside downtime. Like children, adults also need unstructured blocks of time.

5. Plan meals for the week. Consider planning meals just once a week. This prevents wasting time each day deciding what to eat.

6. Delegate almost everything. Determine which tasks are most important and then delegate everything else.

7. Say no more often. There are countless demands on people’s time. It is essential to protect work and pastimes from other less important tasks. Say no when asked to take on activities that do not align with your goals.

8. Always use a time management system. The best way to retain time management skills is to adopt a system for managing time.

9. Simplify life. Owning and maintaining possessions is time consuming. Zeller recommends that people consider how their material items align with their goals. Objects that do not support one’s goals should be discarded.

10. Begin every day at zero. Leave mistakes, disappointments, and failures in the past. Things that happened yesterday need not affect the outcome of today.

HOW TO IMPROVE FOCUS AT WORK

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Ten Ways to Improve Focus at Work 

One of the best ways to use time most effectively is to improve one’s concentration skills, love to  recommends the following techniques.

1. Start small. Concentration can be learned by taking small steps over time.

2. Find a quiet place. It easier to concentrate in quiet workspaces and less busy times of the day.

3. Get an early start or stay late. Consider going to the office early to get a jumpstart on projects or staying later in the day.

4. Move lunch time. To avoid crowds, consider moving lunch either before or after noon.

5. Take shorter, more frequent breaks. Taking five to ten minute breaks every couple of hours increases people’s energy and focus.

6. Control personal interaction. Schedule daily social interactions with co-workers. This helps to prevent unplanned interruptions.

7. Acknowledge then dismiss distracting thoughts. When distracting thoughts arise, accept them and if necessary write them down. Then dismiss them.

8. Reward success. It can be useful to reward oneself for reaching a goal’s interim steps. Small rewards on a daily basis can increase focus.

9. Tackle big opportunities. Challenges often motivate people to perform at higher levels.

10. Maintain a steady pace. The most successful people exhibit two personality traits: persistence and consistency.

HOW TO MAKE TRAINING MEMORABLE

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MAKING TRAINING EVENTS MEMORABLE

One of the secrets to creating memorable events is to create a training plan in advance of the session. When developing this type of plan, instructors can consider nine techniques:

  • Eliciting input about what learners hope will be covered and excluded.
  • Establishing training goals at the beginning of the session.
  • Using a building block approach to content, moving from basic concepts to more advanced ones.
  • Building in time for learners to process what they have learned.
  • Selecting three to five key concepts to focus on.
  • Addressing all learning modalities, including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
  • Using creative training aids that incorporate sound, color, motion and novelty.
  • Confirming that learning is happening.
  • Incorporating an activity that assesses whether the learners’ needs have been met.

Another way to ensure that training sessions are successful is to schedule them at the optimal time of day and time of year. Instructors must consider learners’ body clocks or “circadian rhythms.” The best time to hold heavy thinking activities is between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The starting and ending times for training should also take into account travel patterns and work hours. Trainers should also pay attention to the best month, the best day of the week, and the best time of the month to schedule sessions. Onsite training is convenient for attendees, but the proximity of the office can also be a distraction for participants.

To make the most of classroom time, suggestions are : (1) ensure that all details are set, (2) rehearse the instructions, (3) plan all the class activities in advance, (4) create flip chart headers in advance, (5) send forms to participants in advance, (6) bring extras of all materials, (7) be prepared to control the heat and other aspects of the environment, (8) use creative ways to select volunteers and form groups, (9) manage learner behavior, (10) draw learners back to the classroom on time, (11) ask learners to assess their assignments, (12) gather learner feedback throughout the session, (13) monitor time, and (14) flick the lights on and off to attract attention.

You can invite Anubha for conducting TTT ( Train The Trainer ) in your organisation.Contact details: training@prism-global.org, anubhawalia@gmail.com

MINDSET OF GENERATION Y

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Employers need to encourage and foster a mindset in their youngest employees that is receptive to constructive criticism. Gen Yers need to understand that not all assignments will be high-level and that salary is commensurate with experience. Managers need to understand that this generation wants to, and can, make a difference to keep the country competitive and service driven.

Gen Yers feel entitled to cutting-edge technology. These young workers feel that companies that do not invest in technology “think little of their employees and customers.” Technology helps employees work faster and better. If a company does not have a budget for upgrades, Gen Yers can be asked to experiment with what technology the company does have to try and make the best use of it.

Gen Yers feel entitled to a conflict-free workplace. This is simply unrealistic and managers need to prepare this generation to deal with conflict in a productive and positive way.

This generation feels entitled to daily feedback. While managers do not have the time to provide the same level of feedback as Gen Yers’ “helicopter parents,” all feedback should be built around positive and negative critical incidents, and it should be delivered close to the time of the incident. Feedback should be clear, specific, and concrete, and can be formal or informal, like a pat on the back, or an IM. This regular dose of feedback is good for all generations.

To older generations, the most outrageous demand of Generation Y is a high salary. Employers who undercut the wages of the young workers fuel this mindset. These employees, like all employees, should be paid what they are worth. Pay does not always have to mean cash. Other enticements, such as job flexibility, can sweeten the deal.

Managers should consider what Gen Yers need, rather than what they want.

COMMUNICATION WITH GENY

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The most jarring of Gen Y’s workplace behaviors is their connectedness. They are — they expect to be — in constant communication with their friends by phone, by e-mail, by instant messaging, and by text messages. They are the first digital generation, and

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 6.00.34 pmthose who preceded them must accept that the way we communicate has changed. While the rest of us learn a second, technological language, Gen Yers are native speakers of a language with a different grammar, vocabulary, and etiquette; cross-generational misunderstandings, confusion and resentment often result. In addition, electronic communication has led Gen Y to become impatient with what strikes others as only minor delays. They expect instant messaging. Since so many of their friendships are electronic rather than face-to-face, they have not acquired the ability to read inflections and body language, an ability that is a key part of emotional intelligence. The relative anonymity of electronic communication has fostered an egalitarian style of communication whose informality often offends people.

Employers who focus on impatience, lack of people skills, multitasking, and casual language will miss the unique contribution Gen Y brings to the workplace: their technological fluency can create new possibilities for the company and add global perspectives. The authors advise the following:

  • Recognize that the Gen Y preference for electronic rather than paper communications is both ecologically sound and cost-effective.
  • Build intergenerational relationships and improve performance and productivity by letting Gen Y employees teach communication technology to older coworkers.
  • Take advantage of Gen Y’s ability to gather information from the whole world.
  • Allow them to multitask because they will do it anyway.
  • Model good communication form in the workplace by using “I” statements rather than “you” statements.
  • Set the limits to teach what is and is not appropriate professional behavior.
  • Let Gen Y employees hone leadership and mentoring skills by allowing them to use their technological expertise.
  • Build social relationships through emotionally intelligent communication.

Factors of happiness

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According to Pryce-Jones, there are five main factors of happiness in the workplace, dubbed the 5Cs: Contribution, Conviction, Culture, Commitment, and Confidence. These factors form the core of happiness at work, which the author Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.15.02 pmcalls “achieving your potential.” These factors are associated with three additional themes: Pride, Trust, and Recognition. When the 5Cs come together in an employee, it is likely that she will be happy at work and that her productivity will be substantially higher. The major task for business leaders is to understand these major themes and how they can work toward achieving them.

CONTRIBUTION

The first and most important of the 5 Cs is Contribution, defined by Pryce-Jones as what a person does in the workplace and what his view of it is. An employee’s sense of Contribution is shaped by both the employee (Inside-Out Contribution) and his colleagues (Outside-In Contribution).

Inside-Out Contribution

Inside-Out Contribution has four main components, the first two of which relate to getting things done. First, a strong sense of Contribution will result when a person reaches the big goals that she sets for herself in her working life, such as getting the promotion she wants, landing her ideal job, and so forth. Pryce-Jones warns that it is important to set goals that are not only realistic but also in harmony with the larger aims and values of the company; happiness at work must occur within the context of a working community. However, it is also important for a businessperson to ensure that the goals she is working toward are goals in which she truly believes. If the goals are not really hers, then she will have a much harder time sticking to them, and consequently she will suffer from a reduced sense of Contribution.

The happiest people stretch themselves with challenging goals that answer to their talents and interests; they are genuinely committed to those goals as ends in themselves; and they find pleasure in the tasks necessary to achieve those ends. This crucial aspect of Contribution requires great self-awareness and the discipline to identify the right goals. These goals must be clear and concrete enough to determine the objectives that need to be reached along the way.

Having clarity about objectives–the steps a businessperson needs to take to reach his goals–is the second main component of Inside-Out Contribution. For example, if a businessperson’s goal is to become an executive, then good objectives would include earning an MBA, taking on higher-profile projects in his current position, and so forth. According to Pryce-Jones, goals and objectives need to work together. Without clear objectives, goals remain abstract and frustratingly distant. The goals must also be appealing enough for a businessperson to pursue objectives that she may not find very attractive.

The third component of Inside-Out Contribution is the ability to address any issues with one’s colleagues and employers. Happy employees are more likely to make suggestions and address problems that matter to them, thus providing more open, honest communication and Contributing to social capital.

Honest communication leads directly to the fourth component: the feeling of job security. Lack of open communication can lead to gossip and uncertainty, resulting in a decline in Contribution. This can be avoided when individuals have enough confidence in their colleagues to raise issues honestly and expect direct answers. Job security also demands that businesspeople make an effort to be mindful of their job situations, objectively considering the requirements of their position and their ability to meet them–and if necessary, discussing the situation with colleagues or bosses. Good communication provides businesspeople with concrete metrics on their performance and prevents them from feeling uncertain about their positions. Like the other components of Inside-Out Contribution, this helps to ensure that they remain on-task and focused on their work.

Outside-in Contribution

While the four elements of Inside-Out Contribution are the wellspring of Contribution, they are complemented by the four elements of Outside-In Contribution. Outside-In Contribution begins where Inside-Out Contribution leaves off–namely, with the feeling of being heard by colleagues and bosses. As a component of Contribution, listening makes the most noticeable difference. According to Pryce-Jones, those who feel most heard have a much higher sense of overall Contribution than those who do not.

Cultivating listening skills in the workplace will build the Contribution of colleagues. A person with good listening skills will:

  1. heed what the other person says.
  2. interpret non-verbal signals to arrive at an understanding of what is implicit in the conversation.
  3. affirm the other person at the same time.

This level of listening ability requires a great deal of mindfulness and discipline, but it brings substantial rewards in terms of psychological and social capital.

The second element of Outside-In Contribution is the reception of positive feedback, or what the author terms “positive feedforward.” In order to be effective, positive, encouraging comments must be specific to an individual’s work; they must focus on what that person does well (what he should keep doing); and they should be frequent but not regular enough to seem automatic and disingenuous. Businesspeople should also make an effort to ask others for positive feedback, not only to receive it but also to confirm the acceptability of doing so, creating a climate friendly to “feedforward.” Like listening, this is a particularly difficult skill to develop.

The final two components of Outside-In Contribution are the feeling of being appreciated at work and the feeling of being respected by one’s boss. Appreciation and praise are clearly linked, but appreciation tends to result from effort–how hard one tries — rather than ability; it recognizes that someone has good intentions and has made sacrifices. A CEO pausing to thank an employee by name for keeping the floor clean would be an example falling under appreciation.

Respect, according to Pryce-Jones, seems to emanate from one’s demeanor and general way of being with others. Body language, eye contact, and attentive engagement all indicate respect. Perhaps the most important part of showing respect is taking care with basic manners, such as saying thank you and hello. These habits can further the sense that a businessperson respects her colleagues, and she is likely to earn respect in return. This fosters an atmosphere of respect throughout the company.

CONVICTION

Conviction has the second-strongest correlation to happiness at work. Conviction means that a businessperson thinks he performs well in his job, and that he is motivated to keep pressing on even when circumstances are difficult, as he ultimately thinks he is making a difference.

At the core of Conviction is motivation, or the ability to persevere with the work. According to Pryce-Jones, motivation is innate in human beings, but certain conditions need to be met in order for a person to maximize it. Self-Determination Theory states that motivation is comprised of three elements:

  1. Competence: engagement in something a person likes and can manipulate effectively.
  2. Connection: participation in healthy working relationships.
  3. Choice: the freedom to choose activities that accord with one’s interests.

Using these three elements, it is possible to gauge a person’s motivation level and identify where it may be lacking. A businessperson’s competencecan be gauged by identifying how often she experiences moments of “flow”: the extremely satisfying times when she is so engaged in her work that she hardly notices time passing. Connection can be assessed by the level of reciprocity that she enjoys with her colleagues, or the likelihood that a favor will be returned. Choice is measured by the attitude that a businessperson has toward her job; is it a burden, or does she go the extra mile instinctively? If a businessperson is not interested in the work to begin with–that is, if the work is not something that she truly values–then she must force herself to make personal sacrifices. A bad attitude is a sign of lack of Choice. Only when all of these elements work together are people able to tap into their full capacity for motivation.

Resilience is another essential component of Conviction, as it keeps a businessperson going during difficult times. A person’s resilience depends heavily upon his nature and experiences. For instance, people who grew up during the Depression were found to be much more resilient than those who grew up in economic booms. However, there are some strategies that can be used to improve one’s resilience, regardless of past experiences. The most effective of these strategies is proactive coping: being mindful of what difficulties might occur in the future so that one can be prepared; interpreting events in a positive light whenever possible; and viewing risks as opportunities rather than as evils.

People with high levels of Conviction feel that they are contributing to the betterment of the world through their work. Therefore, one way to develop a sense of Conviction is to be aware of the impact of one’s work.

CULTURE

The third element of the 5Cs is Culture. It refers to how well a businessperson fits within the ethos and dynamic of the workplace.

The Culture of a business can be represented by a continuum between “fixed” Culture–meaning that there are more rules and the work is structured–and “fluid” Culture–meaning that there is more variety and freedom for the individual, and roles are more dynamic and loosely defined. Depending on his personality and the type of environment he is actually working in, a businessperson will either find the business culture more enabling (in which case he will find the Culture either “systematic” or “organic”) or more restrictive (in which case he will find the Culture “static” or “chaotic”).

Within this continuum, Culture can be broken down into several elements. On the more fluid side–that is, among the elements that are more variable and less determined by top-down structure–is a businessperson’s love for his job and his relationship with colleagues. The degree to which a person loves his job depends on whether he is in the right role and whether the business’s place in the fixed-fluid continuum suits his personality. A person’s relationship with his colleagues depends on both the person and his colleagues, and how effective they are in forging relationships with one another.

The more fixed aspects of culture–the ones that vary less–are related to the values of the organization, the fairness of the company’s work ethos, and the amount of control employees have over what they do. These factors are determined by parameters that the company sets. This is especially true of fairness: if employees are systematically treated unfairly, there is not that much an individual can do. On the other hand, it is possible for one employee to have some effect on other employees. For instance, a businessperson can make an effort to be mindful of what her values are, and to think about how her values might coalesce with those of the company. Likewise, a businessperson can achieve more control in the workplace by learning to say “no” to people, or by seeking more responsibility (and thus more influence) on decision making.

COMMITMENT

The fourth C is Commitment, which refers to an employee’s general level of engagement with work. Commitment can be broken down into two elements: believing in what one does, and having positive feelings related to one’s work.

People who are happy at work find their work more meaningful and more interesting; they are more in tune with the purpose of their company; and they feel more positive emotions. Individuals have some control over each of these aspects, but they require a good deal of reflection and self-knowledge. Specifically, an employee needs to identify what she sees as her overall purpose (or what she is trying to achieve in her work) and then find work that is meaningful in a corresponding way. This will be most effective if the employee can identify a calling for herself, something that she is deeply interested in for its own sake.

Another factor in enabling strong Commitment is the effectiveness of the mission statement of the organization. Companies will have much more success recruiting and retaining committed workers if they have a clearly articulated, concrete, and distinctive vision. In addition, their employees will have a better chance of feeling that they are doing something worthwhile and interesting. They will also be able to link their role in the firm with their sense of calling, and they will be more likely to experience positive feelings, or emotional highs.

CONFIDENCE

The fifth and final C is Confidence. Confident employees believe more in themselves, are more productive, and are significantly more energetic than those who lack confidence. Confidence is comprised of three parts:

  1. high productivity
  2. strong self-belief
  3. good understanding of one’s role

High productivity is the more solid, dependable part of Confidence. If a businessperson has a history of completing tasks, then it will be difficult for any momentary doubts or difficult events to shake his Confidence. To achieve happiness at work, it is therefore extremely important to learn strategies of self-control and to avoid or manage procrastination as much as possible. The more things a person gets done, the higher his core level of Confidence will be.

Self-belief relates to a businessperson’s perception of his ability to perform tasks and achieve goals. A businessperson’s self-belief is formed by:

  • observing evidence that encourages the perception that he can get things done.
  • seeing co-workers who seem to have things in common with him succeed.
  • encouragement from others.
  • refusing to panic and interpret his experiences in a negative light–for instance, by reading signs of nervousness as a measure of personal failure rather than of stressful circumstances.

The final part of Confidence, understanding one’s job, means that the businessperson feels her job has not been a disappointment; that it aligns with the vision she has for her career; that she wants to keep doing it; and that she would refer the company to a close friend.

In order to achieve strong performance, these three elements need to be exhibited in moderation–over-confidence can be as big a problem as lack of Confidence. It is therefore necessary for businesspeople to seek out challenges that will stretch them and build their level of Confidence, while simultaneously preparing for situations that might undermine it. They can do this by making sure they have the right strategies and support to minimize the impact of problematic situations on the more vulnerable elements of Confidence.

Strong self-belief and a good understanding of one’s role are points of vulnerability for Confidence. When troubles surface, a businessperson will feel these two elements drain away first, leaving him doubtful and indecisive.