What comes to mind when you think about what makes you happy? For some it may be thinking about family. Others conjure memories with friends or fun times in childhood. Still others might think about accomplishments they are particularly proud of. Memories and experiences like these have some key emotions in common including contentment and security as well as a sense that you have value and that others see and appreciate the value you bring.
And if you think about the times at work when you’ve felt content and valued, chances are those experiences also included feeling accepted and have occurred when you were working with people you trusted and who made you feel secure. This connection between happiness and trust is undeniable and is rooted in behaviours that encourage open and honest communication as well as relationship building and empowerment.
As people head back to offices and begin to work in closer proximity to one another it’s important to revisit some of the fundamentals of trust and happiness to both strengthen current relationships and build new ones. And as we do that, we need to remember that the workplace is full of different people with different personalities, opinions, skills, and styles and that these differences can work wonderfully together if trust is at the core. To create that trust you need to encourage and inspire your people to not only respect differences but embrace and celebrate them. Here’s how:
Communicate openly and sincerely.
One of the strongest tools we possess is our ability to communicate, and when it comes to professional communication we need to bring top-notch skills. This begins with clear expectations so that people understand where you are coming from and what you need to be most effective. To do this well requires empathy – people need to feel understood and they need to know that they won’t be judged for their ideas or their mistakes.
Communication also needs to be open and honest where people are secure sharing their concerns and coming forward when they require help. Key to this is being sincere. Recognize that you won’t always say the right thing but commit to saying how you feel with a genuine desire to understand the people you communicate with. Ask questions, seek to understand, appreciate differences, apologize, be human and welcome different points of view as opportunities to learn and grow.
As you communicate honestly with others your interpersonal relationships will flourish. And that will necessarily improve trust and create happiness at work. As relationships build, trust is built right alongside. Connections, both personal and professional, improve overall happiness as people look forward to their interactions and find ways to collaborate and work toward a common goal. Encourage teams to work together and help them build connections outside the office as well.
These connections can be further enhanced with one-on-one interactions that are sincere and respectful. Get to know your team members on a personal level. Ask questions about their family, learn about their struggles, offer to help where appropriate, or simply listen when needed. Working with people you consider friends makes work life much more enjoyable and contributes to an overall sense of happiness.
Empowerment means allowing people to do their best work and involves sharing information and being transparent. This is achieved when people are empowered to not only meet their goals but to also participate directly in setting those goals. People need to understand the organization’s mission, vision, and strategy and they need to stay informed on progress, setbacks, and new directions in a timely manner.
Leveraging empowerment to build happiness through trust also means helping people feel secure in the knowledge they can bring all of themselves to work regardless of how they work, where they work, or what accommodations they may need. This degree of empowerment communicates trust at all levels and truly embraces the diversity of the workplace. When you give someone a set of tools and resources and then allow them to create, collaborate, inspire, and produce as they see fit, there is nothing more exhilarating. And when they are successful and celebrated for it, there is no limit to what they can accomplish.
Empowerment is the ultimate expression of trust and happiness and it is built through communicating with people on a genuine level, appreciating them for who they are, being open and honest with them, desiring to know them on a personal level, building friendships and connections that are meaningful, and celebrating the individual knowing we all have so much potential just waiting for an opportunity to be unleashed. Be that opportunity – create that level of trust – and enjoy the company of happy people all around you.
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