Traps to avoid when talking about happiness

There’s no “right” way to approach your Friday results, but there are a few traps people can fall in to when trying to discuss their scores. We’ve come up with a few to watch out for - and ways you can avoid them!

Reducing negativity bias

If you just look at your Friday results, your team will probably focus more on negative scores than on positive ones. This is normal and natural. Our brains have a ‘negative-thinking‘ bias – it’s what’s helped us survive as human beings! It can be easy, however, for this bias to mean your team falls into a negative thinking trap.

Your Friday results will contain lots of positive stories which you can highlight to raise levels of energy and feelings of achievement – and our Presentation view is designed to help with this. Recognizing and celebrating successes first will help your team to learn from what is working well – and offset that negativity bias so you can find creative solutions for any challenges identified.

Respecting realities

When negatives do come up, it’s important to respect the reality of those people who might be struggling, and to acknowledge low scores. Remember to also respect anonymity - people need to feel safe to give honest feedback. It's better to ask everyone "what good looks like" than to force people to admit to having given a particular score.

Using your differences

Inequality in scores can also be an area to explore. Consider how the successes of areas where your team or organization is scoring well can be applied to areas where it does not. Or, if you’re looking at scores from more than one team, think about what can be learnt from the groups that are doing well to help those that are struggling.

Sticky situations

Sometimes teams can get really stuck on a particular aspect of happiness at work and your team discussions can feel like they’re losing momentum. It’s helpful to remind each other that happiness at work has its own rhythm of peaks and troughs and it’s a learning experience for all.

The key here is to stay solution focused. Keep attention on how to improve the situation, rather than losing hope or playing the blame game. For instance, you can try talking about the difference between your “circle of concern” (all the things you care about) and your “circle of influence” (all the things you can have an influence over). Typically, we’d like to change somethings that are out of our control, but spending too much time thinking about things outside of our circle of influence is just a waste of energy. Encourage each other to keep most of your efforts within your circle of influence, where you can affect your team’s happiness at work.

A process, not a panacea

It’s tempting to look for a quick fix, but happiness is often a complex and messy topic - sometimes there just aren’t simple solutions. Having said that, sometimes a quick win is possible (such as making sure people have the equipment they need), so make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to take these! Improving happiness and building better teams will be a unique combination of quick wins and small steps, big improvements and incremental shifts.

Avoiding the conversation

The biggest trap to avoid though is not talking about your Friday scores at all. It might feel difficult or uncomfortable sometimes, or like you’re not getting anywhere, but stick with it - and maybe have a re-read through some of our advice for ways to do your conversations differently – as the benefits can be incredible!