Study Confirms How to Build a Fulfilled and Happy Workplace

If you’ve read the first installment of this series, then you know Harvard released a comprehensive study about our well-being. The study has followed its research subjects for nearly 80 years and an abundance of data from these octogenarians has revealed the most important factor in one’s overall happiness and health. It’s not your cholesterol level, but rather the extent to which you develop good relationships.

What’s true in life often translates to the workplace, and building strong relationships is no exception. EQ Applied author, Justin Bariso, has conducted his own extensive research that reveals eight “emotionally intelligent actions” that cultivate the most important factor in strong relationships: trust. In my first post, we looked at the merits of communication and authenticity in relationships. Today, we continue with Bariso’s third, fourth and fifth tenets below:

Be Helpful

The third emotionally intelligent behavior consistent with forming trusting relationships is the notion of helpfulness. At first glance, the military doesn’t conjure a strong association with servant leadership. Yet, if you look more closely at the Marines, their core leadership model speaks to helpfulness. Because the Marines go through intensive training under extreme circumstances together, they develop a commitment to serving each other. You can do this in your organization by shining a light on team accomplishments and, as importantly, on how teams have worked together to accomplish their goals. Doing so over time will help create a culture that expects teams to work together, to share the load, and to share the credit.

Be Honest

Bariso’s fourth emotionally savvy behavior that undergirds a trusting relationship is honesty. Though honesty shouldn’t have to be listed due to its obvious link to trust, I’m reminded of Billy Joel’s song lyrics: “Honesty is such a lonely word and mostly what I need from you.” Amanda Needham felt the sting of this chorus when her bicycle was stolen in front of her Brooklyn building earlier this year. After she posted a candid sign on the front gate, baring her soul and appealing to her bike thief, the neighborhood responded with empathic behavior that restored her trust in them. If strangers responded to Needham’s honest plight, workplace peers certainly promise the same response when honesty is a cultural norm.

Be Dependable

The fifth action that’s aligned with emotional intelligence and conducive to trustworthy connections is dependability. An example that comes to mind is entrepreneur, Zubin Mowlovi, who talked about the importance of being consistent with your workplace team. For example, do your best to convey a consistent mood in meetings. If you let an earlier mishap affect the rest of your day, this puts your team in a constant state of taking your temperature. This uncertainty detracts from building relationships and trust. Instead, try showing that you can be in the present and tune out negative interruptions to maintain a positive focus on your people. Other dependable actions might be arriving on time to meetings, doing what you say you will do, or not making unrealistic promises. This strengthens your team’s confidence in you and willingness to build trusting connections.

The stories behind the Marines, a concerned citizen and an entrepreneur are as varied as they are collective proof that trusting relationships can be developed under almost any circumstances if you choose to show helpfulness, honesty and dependability. Watch for the last installment of this series with a look at why people love their CEOs, the value of another’s shoes, and the power of a sincere apology.

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