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The Importance of Optimism for Productivity

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Employee productivity and employee satisfaction are linked, according to researchers. For the typical employee, productivity is more about attitude than aptitude or training.

The full video (about 12 minutes long) is available below, and also directly on YouTube:

Here’s what may be the most amazing highlight. It’s easy to see how this applies to employee productivity:

Only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ. 75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism level, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.

Shawn Achor, the speaker, also discusses studies that are specifically tied to employee productivity:

Our brain works in the opposite order. If we can raise our level of positivity in the present, then our brain experiences a “happiness advantage.” Which means our brain at positive, performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral, or stressed. Our intelligence rises, our creativity rises, our energy level rises. In fact, every single business outcome improves. Our brain at positive is 31% more productive than our brain at negative, neutral or stressed. We are 37% better at sales. Doctors are 19% faster, more accurate at coming up with a correct diagnosis when positive versus negative, neutral, or stressed.

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© Flickr user Bill Abbott

Here at AccelaWork, we’ve devoted quite a few posts to connecting employee productivity and happiness.  Even if you’re a coffee shop barista, you can become engaged in the productivity growth and complexity of your work.  The same goes if you walk on a tightrope over a 3,000 foot drop without a safety line: having employee satisfaction at work makes the all difference.

That’s part of the reason so many people recommend you find what you love and then find a way to make money off of it. If you’re doing something you’re truly passionate about, optimism is going to come naturally. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to turn their number one passion in life into a career. But that doesn’t mean you’re unable to make the best of every situation and find ways to turn your work into something that’s fully enriching. Whether you’re at a low level in your organization or you’re tasked with keep hundreds of employees engaged, the same principle should be in pace: happiness is key to success.

Don’t let the difficulties of work stress you out. Instead, you should relish those opportunities as one where you can truly prove your worth. It’s similar to the difference between a baseball player who crumbles against an ace pitcher since he knows how hard his opponent can throw and a player who steps up as their competition gets better. George Brett was a great example of this. Denny Matthews spoke about his ability in tough situations.

He was always the guy. He was the clutch guy. Not only with the manager, coaches and his teammates, but the fans knew more often than not in a clutch situation he’d come through because he was so mentally tough and he accepted being that guy.

Brett didn’t get stressed. Instead he was mentally tough enough to know that a greater challenge meant a greater reward. While your challenge may not be hitting a Nolan Ryan fastball, there’s no reason why you can’t relish every opportunity to prove your worth.

Company leaders want to increase employee productivity. But the question is, what will make workers want to achieve more and do so with increased efficiency? It’s time we recognize the secret to great work is engagement. That’s what makes the difference between people who just pass time at their desk and the truly committed employees. Productivity arises from satisfaction. Choose to be happy, grateful, and connected at work.

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