Using your character strengths to be more satisfied at work

I wanted to share with you a relatively easy way of feeling better at work. It’s simply by intelligently applying your character strengths – more effectively using what you naturally have within you! Let me explain a little more….

A quick look at character strengths
Character strengths are “positive traits reflected in thoughts, feelings and behaviours” (Park et al., 2004) and are regarded as essential ingredients of a fulfilling and happy life (Peterson, 2006). The VIA Classification consists of 24 different character strengths, which we all have within us and can draw on to support us in all aspects of life. 
 
By implementing a character strengths approach, our main focus is on what’s right and what we do well, instead of spending time and energy ‘fixing’ our weaknesses, as studies have shown that this where we can experience the greatest positive impact. 
 
I work with the VIA Classification of character strengths as they are flexible, effective and impactful when professionally applied, and have been proven through many studies to contribute to flourishing. 

What are the benefits of applying character strengths at work?
When we consistently and intelligently apply our strengths at work, there’s evidence to show that we can experience improvements in:

  • job performance
  • productivity 
  • work satisfaction and meaningful work
  • employee engagement
  • job dedication 
  • interpersonal facilitation
  • performance ratings 

When I say intelligently, I mean that to really get the most benefit of applying your strengths, it’s important to know the best way in which to use them! For example to understand when to dial up a strength, such as bravery before a speech; or dial down a strength, for example creativity when you are required to closely follow processes. Or by seeking an evidence-based positive psychology intervention to develop your strengths in new and novel ways. 

So, which strengths are most impactful at work?

Numerous studies have found that when the character strengths of…

  • curiosity: “interest, novelty-seeking, exploration, openness to experience”
  • zest: “vitality, enthusiasm for life, vigour, energy, not doing things half-heartedly”
  • hope: “optimism, positive future-mindedness, expecting the best and working to achieve it”
  • gratitude: “thankful for the good, expressing thanks, feeling blessed”

… are consistently applied at work, then we can experience higher levels of satisfaction.
 
Here are some ideas of how you could apply each in the work setting:
 
Curiosity

  • ask ‘why’ questions more often, especially when making assumptions
  • be curious about a work task that you don’t like – find a new way to view it positively
  • challenge yourself to learn a new thing a day for a week

Zest

  • when you feel your energy lagging, instead of reaching for a sugary snack, get out and go for a short walk
  • express your energy and individuality by wearing colourful clothes
  • prepare yourself for new tasks at work by considering the positive aspects 

Hope

  • observe how hopeful colleagues overcome challenges
  • support someone who may be struggling by offering hopeful ideas and concrete actions they could take
  • set daily goals for what you’d like to achieve and identify 2-3 different ways you could reach these goals

Gratitude

  • explain why you are grateful to a colleague, either by what they have done or for a positive aspect of themselves and leave it on their desk in a note to surprise them
  • each evening, recall 3 good things that happened at work each day
  • start meetings by sharing successes

(Reference: Niemiec & McGrath, 2019; Niemiec, 2018: McQuaid & Lawn, 2014)
 
So, which of these 4 strengths will you be focusing on first?!

 

Newsletters

Every couple of weeks, I share short and sweet tips and insights from my work as a leadership & career coach and a student of positive and coaching psychology, as well as exclusive special offers on my products.

If you’d like to subscribe to receive all future newsletters, please click here and you’ll receive a gift from me5 Simple Ways to Integrate Positivity into your Work Day. Otherwise here are previous newsletters for you to enjoy and benefit from!

 

 

March 2019

Productivity, focus and authentic happiness

February 2019

Spotlight on positive emotions

January 2019

Highlights, boosting strengths and positive futures

December 2018

My best self, more optimism and finishing 2018 on a very positive note

November 2018

Your best self, optimism and doing more of what you love at work

Successes, more strengths and a positive psychology exercise for you

October 2018

Innovation, engagement and gratitude

Kindness, excitement and a special offer

September 2018

More habits, more strengths, a celebration and a gift

R U OK, bad habits and 3 good things

August 2018

Positive Psychology, personal branding and nap pods

July 2018

Values, good deeds and celebrations

June 2018

Strengths, intuition and little brothers

Positively thriving at work

 

PPI: How do you express deep gratitude to others?

Would you like to try a positive psychology intervention that is an act of kindness towards another and that can improve your wellbeing for months after you’ve completed it?
 
Writing a letter in which you express your gratitude and appreciation towards a family member, friend or colleague has been shown to improve wellbeing and reduce depressive symptoms. 
 
In this exercise, write a letter that expresses your gratitude for what someone has contributed to your life. Be specific about what exactly you are grateful for and tell them how it has made you feel. You may decide not to give the person the letter, and that is absolutely ok, but if you do decide to share it with them, if possible deliver it in person.
 
Afterwards, reflect on the following questions:
 
How did this exercise make you feel?
What reaction did the other person have?
How did you feel a week after writing the letter?

And… who is the next person you’d like to write a gratitude letter to?

PPI: What’s the best possible life you can imagine?

Here’s a positive psychology intervention you can try that besides helping you to feel happier, being sick less often and bringing about sustained improvements in your wellbeing after you’ve tried the intervention, it will support you in clarifying what you’d like to achieve, and prompt you to develop an action and prioritisation plan in order to meet your goals.

 Simply plan some quiet time and think about your life over the next 5 years. Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Think of this as the realisation of all of your life dreams.

 Now spend 15-20 minutes writing about what you imagined, for 4 days in a row.

 And after the 4 days, reflect on the following questions:

What exactly have you achieved?
How did you feel once you achieved your goals?
How did you do it?
Who was supporting you?
What strengths did you use?
What do you need to do in order to meet your goals?
What else did you notice?

 How did you find this intervention? And what do you notice about your levels of happiness and positivity after repeating it for 4 days?

Team engagement checklist for leaders

What are some easy ways to engage a team?

Do you have team management responsibility? If yes, what do you do to keep your team members engaged and motivated? 

In my coaching work, I’m increasingly working with leaders to support them in engaging their teams in the most authentic way possible. And perhaps you already know that for most of my former career, I managed employee engagement campaigns within large organisations. It’s definitely a passion of mine! 
 
So, I did some research, and along with my own insights I created this list of 41 simple and impactful ways for leaders to engage their teams
 
Perhaps you do all of this already, or maybe there are a couple of points here that you find helpful…I’d love to know if you have any more that have helped you engage your team, please don’t hesitate to share them with me – hello@kellycampino.com
 
You can download it here.

Personal values list

Knowing what our personal values are helps us to understand what motivates and fulfils us, and therefore can guide our behaviours, decisions and actions to be aligned with who we really are. I like to think of them as our personal code of conduct.

It can also help us reach our goals. Research demonstrates that when we know what our values are and design our goals with them in mind, it sparks higher levels of motivation and effort to achieve them.

I’ve collected a list of values and added them below. It’s by no means exhaustive, but can be a great starting point when you’re ready to determine your own. The idea is to eventually get them down to 5-6, which, in my experience, can take quite some time! Start by combining those that are similar and choosing the word that resonates with you best. For example, achievement and accomplishment are similar but do have slightly different nuances, but which one feels more like you?

Then you can review them with the following questions:

  • What motivates you?
  • What fulfils you?
  • What must you have in your life?
  • What do you often say about yourself?
  • What about you drives others crazy?!

So, which values do you think apply to you?!

P.S. My values are empathy, integrity, fairness, generosity, kindness, authenticity, support and professionalism 😉

AccomplishmentEnergyOriginality
AchievementEnjoymentPassion
AdventureEqualityPatience
AmbitionEthicalPeace
AmbitionExcellencePerformance
AuthenticityFairnessPersistence
AuthorityFaithPlayfulness
AutonomyFamePleasure
AwarenessFamilyPoise
BalanceFearlessPopularity
BeautyFocusPower
BoldnessFreedomProfessionalism
BraveryFriendshipsPurpose
BrillianceFunQuality
CapableGenerosityRecognition
CarefulGivingReligion
ChallengeGratitudeReputation
CitizenshipGrowthRespect
CommitmentHappinessResponsibility
CommunicationHard workSecurity
CommunityHealthSelf-Respect
CompassionHonestyService
CompetencyHumilitySimplicity
ConfidenceHumorSincerity
ConnectionImaginationSpirituality
ConsciousnessIndependenceStability
ContributionInfluenceStatus
CooperationInner HarmonyStructure
CourageInnovationSuccess
CreationInsightfulSupport
CreativityIntegritySustainability
CredibilityIntuitiveTeamwork
CuriosityJoyThoughtfulness
DecisiveJusticeTolerance
DedicationKindnessTransparency
DependabilityKnowledgeTrustworthiness
DeterminationLeadershipUnderstanding
DevelopmentLearningUniqueness
DisciplineLoveVitality
DiscoveryLoyaltyWealth
DriveMeaningful WorkWisdom
EffectivenessOpennessWonder
EfficiencyOptimism
EmpathyOrder