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4 Ways to Turn Happiness into a Competitive Advantage

April 12, 2013
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226247

While you may think success brings happiness, research shows it's actually the other way around. Happy employees have shown to have higher levels of productivity, lower burnout and turnover and are more creative than unhappy employees.

A positve outlook can improve health and energy, acting as the fuel that allows our brains to reach their potential. Author of The Happiness Advantage (Crown Business, 2010), San Diego-based business coach Eric Karpinsky  specializes in happiness advantage training. He says joy can be your business' most important competitive advantage.

He suggests these tips to create more happiness in your team and maximize the success of your business.

1. Spread your good moods.
"The best thing leaders can do is work on their own happiness," says Karpinsky. Do you ever notice your energy becomes depleted when confronted by someone who's a downer and uplifted when confronted by a person with a smile? "We catch people's emotions," says Karpinsky.

Just as negative attitudes can bring down the office and result in less productivity, less job satisfaction and less success over all in the company, happy leaders can create a work environment that yields the benefits of happiness. "Leaders have a responsibility to shield their negative emotions when they're feeling down and when they’re feeling positive to go and spread that around," says Karpinsky.

Related: 5 Ways You Can Be Happier at Work Right Now

2. Boost everyone's mood for better brainstorming.
Elevating your team's mood before and during your brainstorming sessions can make employees more creative. "Happier people see more in their periphery," says Karpinsky. "When you're negative, you only see what's right in front of you, but when you're primed with positivity you see more things, so that opens you up to other ways of thinking."

Providing treats or telling a funny story at the beginning of the meeting can help to improve everyone’s mood and make your brainstorming session more productive.

Related: How to Bring Life Back to Your Office

3. Start a journal.
Take a few minutes at the end of each day to write down three things that you were grateful for. "[Keeping a gratitude journal] is one of the most talked about and most proven paths to happiness," says Karpinsky, who recommends journaling about one thing that happened during each day that had meaning to you.

Whether it's caring for an elderly parent or watching your child learn to swim, find something that had some deeper meaning to your life. According to Karpinsky, doing this for 21 consecutive days will help improve your outlook and allow you to infuse that positivity into your work.

4. Show others that you are thinking of them. Before you open your inbox each morning and begin to deal with the day's work, send a quick email of thanks or encouragement to a co-worker, supplier or client. "It doesn't have to be about something really big, but something simple such as 'I know you have a sales meeting today, I hope it goes well,' or 'great job on this assignment'", suggests Karpinsky. Sending a few kind or encouraging words not only increases the cheerfulness  of the receiver, but of the sender as well.

Related: Zappos' Secrets to Building an Empowering Company Culture