Happiness – The EI Indicator

By Patrice Baughman Borders, J.D.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” Albert Schweitzer

Raise your hand if you have ever postponed happiness by justifying that happiness is what comes at the end of accomplishing a goal or completing a task. “When I make partner, I’ll be happy. Or, maybe, “Once I reach my ideal weight, I’ll treat myself to a beach vacation.” I am assuming that every reader of this article has a raised hand because we’ve all done it. Yet, this very common act, research asserts, is counterintuitive to how happiness really works.
According to happiness scholar Shawn Achor, “happiness works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge.” Achor’s research reveals that “when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level – productivity, creativity, engagement – improves.” Being happy first, rather than postponing happiness, invites more success.
While happiness admittedly possesses an “eye of the beholder” quality, as a general proposition you can spot a happy person because they “have a sense of cheerfulness and enthusiasm about them, a strong capacity to enjoy life, have fun, and be spontaneous. They take pleasure in the small things in life.”
In the Reuven Bar-On EQ-i 2.0 Assessment, a well-being or “happiness” measure complements the 15 skills against which one’s EQ is measured. Happiness both contributes to, and is a product of, emotional intelligence yet it is not an EI skill. Four EI skills are used to discern the level of one’s happiness: (1) Self-Regard, (2) Optimism, (3) Self-Actualization, and (4) Interpersonal Relationships.

EQi-2.0 Model

EQi-2.0 Model


Well-Being Indicator_HappinessHappiness at Work

If you do a google search for books on happiness at work, you’ll get over 5 million results. The subject is well-researched because while the value of happiness is clear, achieving and maintaining it are somewhat elusive. Individuals want to be happy and employers want happy employees. One of the most recognized names in the field of EI, Daniel Goleman sets out the top workplace triggers that lead to unhappiness at work in his book, The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights:

1. Condescension and lack of respect
2. Being treated unfairly
3. Being unappreciated
4. Feeling that you’re not being listened to or heard
5. Being held to unrealistic deadlines

It doesn’t require volumes of research to conclude that if the workplace includes any of the above triggers, there too you’ll find unhappy employees. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh built the most successful online shoe retailer by focusing on creating a happy work culture. According to Hsieh, “businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.” A workplace culture is simply a collection of the attitudes and behaviors that are permissible. If you want to be part of a happy work culture, you have to bring happy and you have to eliminate the unhappy. And, eliminating the triggers Goleman identifies is a good place to start. The author of Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success, Jessica Pryce-Jones presents intuition-confirming research that finds happy people:

1. Get promoted more
2. Earn more
3. Generate better and more creative ideas
4. Achieve goals faster
5. Interact better with colleagues and bosses
6. Receive superior reviews
7. Learn more
8. Achieve greater success
9. Are healthier – use less sick days
10. Are more resilient

How Happy Are You?
Do you know how happy you are? Authors of The EQ Edge Emotional Intelligence and Your Success, Steven J. Stein, PH.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D. offer the following 9 Question Self-Assessment to get a baseline of your happiness quotient:Happiness_  Self-Assessment


Get Happy(ier)
If you think you could benefit from increasing your happiness (and those who have to work around you would agree) the answers are a google search away. The visionary behind Google’s groundbreaking employee training program, Search Inside Yourself, Chade-Meng Tan, teaches that mindfulness and emotional intelligence are the path to success and happiness at work. Tan reports that while participant feedback describes improvements in work, work relationships, productivity and creativity, most report that the course was life-changing. Not a Googler, no worries, Tan’s course has grown into a non-profit and he widely shares one of the courses’ happiness exercises.Second Happiness exercise

The exercise, Tan asserts, grows our compassion and empathy and grounds us in the present moment. It changes the way we perceive and treat others. It creates not only happy thoughts and energy, but also a happier and more collaborative work culture.

Want a more emotionally intelligent workplace? Take 10 seconds and go make happy happen!

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