The science behind happier workplaces

Being a great manager is effortful, time-consuming, and relies on good instinct and being able to read people's needs well. A few key regular activities can take your people management to the next level. A few best practices (Do's and Don'ts) are outlined in this resource.

Just as your managers have set an example for you, you are setting an example for future managers and leaders. Good luck! And thank you for taking care of your teams and making your workplace better.

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Set up a 1:1 meeting

Improve your Relationship with Manager score by engaging in meaningful interactions

In the past 7 days, have you had a meaningful interaction with your manager?

Do's

  • Be prepared. Bring things to discuss (eg. from Happily feedback)
  • Focus on them. Not your projects, not your problems, not status updates.
  • Listen well. Ask open-ended questions with keywords like "what," "how," and "why."

Don't

  • Forget they're human. People crave connection and understanding.
  • Forget what you talked about last time.
  • Forget to act. If they're something you commit to do for them, do it.
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Check-in

Improve your Happiness score by reaching out to those who are unhappy to listen and see what's going on

How do you feel today?

Do's

  • Display empathy. Use this as an opportunity to understand their problems.
  • Be open to listen. Figure out if they want you to fix their problems, or just listen (big difference!).
  • React in a timely way. Get ahead of problems by checking in early enough. Don't wait until issues become critical.

Don't

  • Make assumptions. Fight the urge to guess what's going on.
  • Be quick to judge. Try to not form your own opinion about the situation too quickly.
  • Try to fix their personal issues. People most often are looking for someone who will listen, not someone to pitch them solutions.
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Share feedback

Improve your Feedback score by sharing actionable and constructive feedback

Do you think you get enough feedback?

Do's

  • Be specific. Provide examples.
  • Give them a chance to respond. After sharing your feedback, provide some space for questions or comments.
  • Provide critical feedback in private.

Don't

  • Delay. Feedback is most useful when timely.
  • Make it personal. Don't be critical of them as a person. Be critical of their actions, efforts, or results.
  • Make opinions. Use evidence and examples.
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Send recognition

Improve your Recognition score by displaying/communicating appreciation and praise

Have you gotten recognition from someone in the past 7 days?

Do's

  • Be specific. Don't just say thanks. Highlight their efforts and how it made you feel.
  • Make it fit. People can be different in how they like their recognition.
  • Do it right away. Maximize the impact!

Don't

  • Recognize those who don't deserve it. Don't devalue your best motivation tool.
  • Give all recognition at once. Each praise needs its own spotlight.
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Re-evaluate priorities

Improve your Wellness score by understanding what is most stressful and helping re-prioritizing work

In the past 7 days, how stressed or overwhelmed have you been?

Do's

  • Dig deep. Uncover underlying issues that may require guided introspection.
  • Understand challenge and panic zones. Panic zones can explain lack of progress and feelings of high stress.
  • Ask how you can be helpful.

Don't

  • Be demanding. Chances are they will not respond well to this kind of language when extremely stressed.
  • Only focus on deliverables. Understand what it takes to make it happen.
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Set up a team check-in

Improve your teams' score by checking in with the team and/or team manager to listen to challenges and lending a helping hand

Do's

  • Involve the team manager. Bypassing the manager is a violation of trust.
  • Create a safe environment. It takes time but will encourage more honesty and better problem solving.
  • Offer help. Extend a helping hand when you can.

Don't

  • Focus on the "who?". The more productive conversation is around the "Why?"
  • Forget to follow-through. After offering help, make sure you deliver. Otherwise, future help may not be well received.
  • Ignore the problem. Team challenges will most likely not resolve themselves.
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Align performance goals

Improve your Company Alignment score by understanding key blockers to performance or misalignment with team goals

How would you rate your performance towards company goals this month?

Do's

  • Clarify Goals. Uncover underlying issues that may require guided reflection.
  • Listen for hidden problems. Seek the underlying problems that they're not seeing.
  • Ask Why? Find better alignment through collaborative examination.

Don't

  • Dismiss issues. We don't process challenges the same way, so be sensitive to problem areas that you find difficult to relate with.
  • Make quick judgements.
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Create growth opportunities

Improve your Personal Growth score by understanding areas opportunities for personal and professional development

Do you feel like you are learning and growing?

Do's

  • Discover growth goals. Have focused discussions about personal and career development goals.
  • Provide guidance and direction. Think of yourself as a coach, not an instructor.
  • Be clear about career progression. Create an share a career path tracker so that they know exactly what they need to do in order to be considered for a promotion.

Don't

  • Force growth goals. Learning and development must be a choice that is taken and owned.
  • Be unrealistic.  
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Unlock team support

Improve your Relationship with Colleagues score by understanding what kind of support is needed and missing

Are you getting the support you need from your colleagues?

Do's

  • Listen. Team conflict or tensions can be solved just by listening.
  • Seek advice. Ask them what they need or how you can help facilitate better team support.
  • Mediate. If there is team conflict, encourage each side to talk rather than ignore the problem.

Don't

  • Make assumptions. Learn about intentions before making assumptions from observations or what others are saying.
  • Discourage teamwork.
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Uncover workplace expectation gaps

Improve your Ambassadorship score by understanding and managing the ever-growing expectations of the workplace

Would you recommend this workplace to others?

Do's

  • Listen. Get them to share what is falling short of their expectations. By asking and listening, they may re-evaluate how reasonable their expectations are.
  • Provide support. Your reaction to support what they need will set a tone that will strengthen your relationship.
  • Manage expectations. The goal isn't to give in to all expectations, it is to manage expectations by helping them understand what is possible and within reason.

Don't

  • Only give in. You will need to push back when necessary.
  • Be defensive. Don't take it personally.
  • Anchor on your standards. Everyone's needs and expectations will be different.
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Manage challenges

Improve your Satisfaction score by understanding what is too challenging or not challenging enough

How challenging is your work right now?

Do's

  • Gain visibility. Learn as much as you can about what they're going through.
  • Reflect on their work style (Happily House). Find out if their dominant work styles are in conflict with their work.
  • Understand comfort/challenge/panic zones. What is in your comfort zone may be in their panic zone.

Don't

  • Estimate based on your abilities.