Happiness Evangelist

The Place to Be Happy is Here…


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The 4S of Leadership

How does one decode leadership?

What is it that really matters?

Does it really matter?

New research (Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan  |  McKinsey Quarterly |  Jan 2015) recommends four types of behaviour that is intrinsic to effective leadership.

The researchers, from experience and from literature, came up with a list of 20 distinct leadership traits, surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organisations in different industries and geographies to come out with the most important four.

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These 4 kinds of behavior account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness.

  • Solve Problems Effectively Although difficult to get right, it is a key input into decision making – from daily ones, such as how to handle a team conflict to major ones such as a merger.
  • Strong Results Orientation – Communicating a vision and setting objectives is important, but leadership includes following through to achieve results.
  • Seeking Different Perspectives – Leaders base their decisions on sound analysis, encourage their team to contribute ideas and avoid the many biases to which decisions are prone.
  • Supporting others – An authentic leader understands, is empathetic, builds trust, is inspirational and brings about harmony and collaboration. In short, a leader is a Happiness Evangelist.

Different business situations require different styles of leadership.

But being a nurturer & a problem-solver with a strong results orientation and being open to perspectives is core to leadership.

To introspect…

Am I an effective problem-solver?

Do I possess a strong results orientation?

Do I seek different perspectives?

Am I supportive?

Prioritizing these four is a good place for us to start.


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A Tree in Memory

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another”. – Mahatma Gandhi

World Environment Day (WED) is observed every year on June 5 to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

At Happiest Minds, we planted six trees, one each in memory of our fellow team members who have passed on (https://goo.gl/photos/6fSx7aFHXLzTLn327):

  1. Makeshwar Babu – PES
  2. Ram Vaidyanathan – IMSS
  3. Aneesh Varghese – IMSS
  4. Rajeevan Charles – IMSS
  5. R S S Prabhu – IMSS
  6. Dinesh Subramanian – PES

A TREE IN MEMORY…


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Mindfulness – The Key To Resilience

In our daily lives, we are faced with innumerable challenges – personal and professional.

We as a team have had challenging days and weeks – preparation for meetings, completion of assessments, loss of a colleague and so on.

How do we deal with these challenges?

Do we perceive these challenges as major setbacks or moments of growth?

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How do we stay balanced?

How well do we recover?

How do we learn to increase our R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.E?

The World Happiness Report 2015 describes how well-being (happiness) is a skill and how it can be cultivated and trained by working on four areas: Positivity, Resilience, Generosity & Mindfulness.

Resilience can be explained as bounce-back-ability. The ability to get back up after adversity. The ability to look at crisis as an opportunity for self-reflection, learning and growing.

Is there an easy way to increase our Resilience? Apparently, there is.

And the answer is MINDFULNESS.

Resilience is mostly cultivated from within by how we perceive, and then, react to stressors.

A recent study  found that mindful people can cope with difficult thoughts and emotions better without being overwhelmed or shutting down. Pausing and observing the mind helps one to move forward.

Carley Hauck of Stanford University suggests a mindful practice that can help improve our resilience.

  1. “Come into a comfortable and supported seated posture.
  2. Begin to bring your awareness inside and slow down the rhythm of your breathing.
  3. Acknowledge any event that happened today or this week that was difficult.
  4. Bring your awareness to what happened, thoughts, feelings, and let your heart begin to open as you breathe in and out.
  5. Turn towards the moderate difficulty with compassion and acceptance.
  6. Repeat these phrases in whatever order or frequency that feels comfortable to you.

May I be kind to myself.
May I find peace and healing.
I am doing the best that I can in this moment.
May I accept and find ease with things just as they are.”

Often, when life is difficult, we can be overly critical and hard on ourselves, but compassion, not criticism, facilitates greater resilience.

With compassion, we can turn toward the difficult thoughts and emotions and then get back on track with our next wise move.


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Stop To Email

Emailing allows us to get work done quickly with people across cities, across buildings, across work-stations (J), across geographies.

However, without the emotional signs and social cues of face-to-face or phone interaction, it’s more possible to be misunderstood.

Also, mindless emailing overstuffs everyone’s inboxes.

Let us try Mindful Emailing. With a few mails during the week. Or all of them.

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  1. COMPOSE an email.
  2. STOP to take one long deep breath. Pay attention to the breath. (count of 5 on the inhale and 5 on the exhale, if you like)
  3. THINK of the person to whom the email is going and how you want them to receive your message.
    1. Could they misunderstand your words and become angry or offended?
    2. Are you being more positive than you intend?
  4. LOOK at the draft email again.
  5. OBSERVE how you are.
  6. CHANGE it if appropriate.
  7. PROCEED – send your email

Happy Emailing 🙂


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Be Nice

 

In a study called ‘Project Aristotle’, Google wanted to know the secret to building a productive team.

Their data-driven approach concluded that the best teams:

  • respect one another’s emotions; and
  • are mindful of one other.

It has less to do with who is in a team; rather it is about how the team interacts with one another.

At the heart of Google’s strategy is the concept of ‘psychological safety’ a model of team work in which ‘members have a shared belief that it is safe to take risks and share a range of ideas without the fear of being humiliated’.

In 1989, Stephen Covey said the same thing in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: members of productive teams take the effort to understand each other, find a way to relate to each other, and then try to make themselves understood.

Harvard professor Amy Edmondson in her study concluded that psychological safety boosted performance in teams.

Google now describes psychological safety as the most important factor to building a successful team.

In short, just be nice.

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Mindful Listening

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Hunters wait for long stretches silently as they keep an ear open for the cry or call of a prey.

They listen to shifts in the wind, rustles in the foliage, warnings from other animals or even an inner voice that urges them to wait a little bit longer.

In  a similar way, each of us have to bring to work and to our interactions, our own version of attentiveness and practice varying degrees of concentration.

Do we pay heed to what we do? We tend to be distracted, more often than not.

Do we hold our listening focus for long stretches? We drift off into the future, ruminate about the past or simply tune off.

Do we practice mindful listening when one is talking? We sometimes give the appearance of being present in a conversation when, in fact, our mind is elsewhere.

Do we respond in defence or in reply after having listened to the other? We must be silent before we can listen.

Mindfulness encourages us to center on what is actually happening in the present and to be keenly aware of our inner responses to what is unfolding externally. (Diggins, 2011)

Whether at work or in a conversation, let us anchor ourselves to the present moment.

Let us practice mindfulness.

Mindful Listening.