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A Crash Course in Happiness

By: Brian Tracy
Last updated 6/28/2011

Here are ten ideas, not necessarily in order, that you can apply to create a peak performance work environment and to ensure that each person makes a maximum contribution to your company. In the pages ahead, I will expand on these ideas and go into some of them in greater depth. But here is where you can start, right now:

1. Smile. When you see someone for the first time each day, smile at that person. Look people square in the face, pause, and smile, making it clear that you are happy to see them. It takes just 13 muscles to smile and 112 muscles to frown. So it is much easier to smile at people when you see them each day. And it makes them happy.

2. Ask people questions. Talk to them; ask them questions about how they are feeling today and how everything is going. When you express a genuine interest in other people, it makes them feel valuable, respected, and important. They'll feel good inside and want to please you by doing a good job.

3. Listen to them. Listen attentively when people talk to you. When you listen to people closely, without interruption, it makes them feel valuable and important. It raises their self-esteem. Being intensely listened to by the boss actually releases endorphins in people's brains, which causes them to feel happier and better about themselves.

4. Be polite. Always be polite, courteous, and respectful when you talk with your staff members. Treat them as if they are talented, intelligent, and accomplished. Lean forward and face them directly, as if there is nothing else in the world that you would rather do than interact with them at this moment.

5. Say "thank you." For everything they do, small or large, thank people. Thank them for being at the meeting on time, for completing an assignment, for giving you a piece of information, and for any other thing that they do that is part of their job. When you express appreciation toward other people, thanking them for something they have done or said, you make them feel more valuable and important. Because your words have a powerful impact on their thoughts, feelings, and behavior, when you thank people, you make them feel happier about themselves and their work.

6. Keep people informed. Keep them fully informed about the company, the business, and especially anything that is going on that may have an impact on their work or their security in their job. The most satisfied employees in every organization report that they feel that they are insiders, that they are "in the know," and that they are aware of everything that is going on around them that affects them or their work in any way.

It helps to practice an open-door policy. Tell people that there are "no secrets" and that if anyone ever has any questions about anything that is going on inside or outside the business, they are free to ask and their questions will be answered.

7. Encourage improvement. Encourage people to come up with ideas to do their jobs better or to improve the company in any way possible. The Japanese rebuilt their economy after World War II with the kaizen system, which stands for "continuous betterment." They encouraged every person, at every level, to look for small and large improvements that they could make in their "line of sight."

You should do the same. When someone comes up with an idea, no matter what you might think of it initially, encourage the person to try it out on a small scale to see if it works. The more ideas you encourage, the more ideas you are going to get. And when people are encouraged to use their creativity to do their job better, they feel much happier about themselves and the company.

8. Treat your employees like volunteers. Treat them as if they were working for free. Imagine that each member of your staff is a talented, accomplished person who could work anywhere she wants but has chosen to work for you because she likes you and the company.

In nonprofit organizations, where almost everyone is a volunteer, each person who comes to help out in organizational activities is treated with tremendous respect because the managers want those people to come back and help out in the future. When you treat your staff as if they were unpaid volunteers, donating their time to help you and the business because they like you and enjoy what they are doing, you will treat them better. This will cause them to feel much happier about coming to work and doing their jobs.

9. Imagine your employees as million-dollar customers. Think about how your personality changes when you hear the voice of one of your important customers on the phone. You instantly become warm, friendly, charming, attentive, and respective. You are on your very best behavior. No matter what the customer says, you remain thoughtful, patient, friendly, and agreeable.

Now, imagine that each of your employees is in a position to influence a million-dollar purchase of your products or services in some way. When you treat each of your staff members the same way you would treat one of your most valuable customers, it has an enormous positive effect on them and makes them feel very good about themselves and about working for you.

10. Compliment people. Take time to admire their possessions, appearance, and qualities or traits. Everyone likes a compliment. You can compliment someone on an article of clothing, a new purse or briefcase, or even a haircut or change in hairstyle. In addition, you can compliment people on their qualities or traits. "You are very persistent," or "You always do an excellent job."

People invest a lot of time and emotion in their personal appearance, their homes, their cars, their accomplishments, and their behaviors. When you take a minute to notice and comment positively on any one of these areas, you make people feel valuable and special and happier about themselves and what they are doing.

Excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from Full Engagement! Inspire, Motivate, and Bring Out the Best in Your People by Brian Tracy. Copyright 2011, Brian Tracy. Published by AMACOM. For more information, visit www.amacombooks.org

About the Author(s)

Brian Tracy is author of Full Engagement! Inspire, Motivate, Bring Out the Best in Your People from which this article was taken. He is one of the top business speakers and authorities in the world today. He has spoken in almost every city in the U.S. and Canada and in 56 other countries. He addresses more than 250,000 people worldwide each year. He has written 50 books and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on management, motivation, and personal success. He is the president of Brian Tracy University and Business Growth Strategies, the preeminent Internet business learning portal in the world today.