Want Great Work from Your Project Team? Get Happy
We’ve often been taught that happiness is the result of success, but what if it’s actually the other way around? That’s what one researcher in the field of positive psychology, Shawn Achor, has set out to prove. In his book, The Happiness Advantage, he examines how the brain functions better when a person is feeling positive and how individuals and teams can thrive when they are connected by strong social supports and are praised with positive feedback and gratitude.
Economists at the University of Warwick found in their research that a happy team is actually 12 percent more productive and an unhappy team is actually 10 percent less productive. Author of the book When: The Scientific Secrets of Timing, Daniel Pink lists these three things that generate happy team dynamics:
- A set pace
- A strong sense of belonging
- A collective focus
Why does this research matter to you and to your project team? Because it can deliver real results to your project’s bottom line. Happy team members stay home less often, on average and they are more likely to receive higher satisfaction ratings from customers according to research from a Gallup Healthways study. In a world where everyone is competing on experience, this could be your secret sauce.
Another competitive advantage is LiquidPlanner. Our project management software can help you facilitate team happiness.
- Our top-down work breakdown structure clearly displays projects and tasks in priority order.
- LiquidPlanner drives autonomy by allowing project team contributors to own and update their assigned tasks to create a transparent atmosphere where everyone on the team knows exactly where the work stands.
- The tracked collaboration features get team members talking and problem-solving right in context with the work so decisions are never missed.
Now, our project management software can’t actually take your team out to lunch—another key happiness indicator—but you can certainly schedule events for team bonding that block off availability.
So, how do you get a happy team?
As the project team lead, you can set the standard for a positive mindset. Try out some exercises like journaling about a positive experience in your day or meditating. Simply say nice things about your team’s contributions to the project and watch the positivity spread.
Try to establish a set cadence for when your team delivers work. Using one- or two-week Scrum Sprints and other Scrum rituals like the daily stand-up meeting, demo days, and retrospectives can help set a consistent pace so your team knows what to deliver when every time.
While it sounds counterproductive, taking time out of the day to simply chat with your team members and connect on a deeper personal level will help create senses of belonging and happiness throughout the entire team. Add in a shared objective your team is on board with, and you’ll start to find your swing.