Do You Believe in ‘Happiness Hours’?

Happy people are the most productive

Happy people are the most productive

I totally endorse the new initiative from the Dubai Health Authority in introducing ‘happiness hours’ for hard working employees who complete their tasks to a high standard: the reward being that they will be allowed to leave work three hours early once a month.

Of course, the key to employee motivation with increased performance and productivity is dependent upon excellent management initiatives and good communications.

Provided that leaders appreciate and value their teams, then they will find they have a more engaged and inspired workforce who will always give of their best.

Phrases that increase performance and productivity

However, often the challenge is that many managers rarely know how to give praise and, therefore,  a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘you’ve done really well and I appreciate that’…is rarely said.

      'Thank you...','I appreciate what you have done','Well done'...

If managers bring this language into the average working day, they will find that they will have happy workers with enhanced engagement and increased productivity.

On the other hand, where employees feel like they are merely ‘a number’, then all the ‘happiness hours’ in the world will not help!

We know that managing people is not easy. If leaders don’t have the necessary vital communication skills, then they need to be trained to develop this skillset as part of their leadership portfolio.

Communications is key to a successful business! To motivate its workforce, the DNA has to train its managers, at all levels, to recognise that the company’s most important asset is its human resource.

Book Carole as a Motivational Speaker Now!  She will deliver a charismatic, high-impact keynote presentation at your next conference. 

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+ 44 (0) 20 8954 1593.


How to fast-track your promotion

Most people want to get on in life and improve their career prospects but in the competitive workplace in which we work, promotional prospects are not always easy to achieve.


So, in order to o successfully advance your career may mean embracing an approach that is less about you and more about your colleagues, team leaders and the specific organisation within which you work.

Build empathy with your boss

If your immediate boss feels that you have empathy with his, or her, challenges as well as their successes, they are more likely to want to see you also succeed.   It is important that you are aware of their interests and what motivates and inspires them.  Be aware that people tend to favour those who share their aims and objectives. Continue reading


Stressed Out and Firefighting – again!

4 Easy Steps to Beat Your Stres

The Essential Guide to Managing Stress

As a manager, do you regard yourself as acting reactively or proactively, the majority of the time?  Do you pride yourself on your ‘firefighting skills’ or your planning expertise?

Reactive management refers to situations for which you cannot, (or fail to), plan and which then require you to enter into reactive mode in order to deal with them.  This usually means that situations arise that you failed to anticipate and which then need ‘firefighting’ to resolve the issues that have arisen.  Of course, you may well have become extremely good at doing this.  However, have you have ever thought how efficient you really are at such times?  You may have convinced yourself that you work better under stress.  You may need the ‘adrenaline rush’ to get you moving and you love working late into the early hours of the morning in order to meet a deadline. However, have you considered the knock-on effect to other people around you who will be also be affected? Continue reading


Not Another Meeting!

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4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

The other day I was sent an email with five attachments and it was suggested that these were all read prior to attending a forthcoming meeting.

So I arrived at the meeting, on time, and sat and waited for 15 minutes which made me annoyed.  The meeting eventually started but no agenda had been distributed.  The attachments I had been sent were only touched upon so were not really necessary.  And so I sat there thinking ‘what was the purpose of this meeting?’

Sometimes I wonder if people who arrange meetings fully appreciate the responsibility entailed?  I am certainly not saying that some meetings are not invaluable and if organised and delivered well, are essential to develop projects, initiatives, clarify thinking, to brainstorm and to encourage networking.  However, when using other people’s time, it is necessary to ensure that there is a valid reason.

Often, I arrive at a meeting that starts late, and I begin to lose focus and interest. And when they do eventually commence, the AV equipment has not been tested beforehand, the micrphone doesn’t work and it becomes more of a ‘fire-fighting activity with loads of excuses rather than a business meeting, Continue reading


Enhancing Group Dynamics

4 Easy Steps to Beat Your Stres

The Essential Guide to Managing Stress

Jared is a client of mine, in London, who invested a good deal of time and money in bringing together what he believed to be a really smart and bright team. They were to be known as Corporate Achievers and be the ones who would anticipate corporate challenges and be the bright sparks and go-getters of the business by bringing in entrepreneurial traits to raise productivity and profitability.

He asked me to meet them and to conduct one-to-one interviews to ascertain their psychological profile and potential ability. In other words, now that he had selected them, he wanted my opinion as to how they would interact and work together as a team.

After my report, all initially went well but then he called me back to say that his high hopes for this innovative and creative team were not being fulfilled.

Apparently, although individually they were all potentially high achievers, within a team they just failed to work constructively together.

Two team members were inevitably always highly critical of the proposals of other colleagues and interpreted them as a competitive challenge; another failed to have the courage of his own convictions and in any discussion with a more dominant team member, would tend to merely listen and not to interact or to contribute.

Jared called me back and asked what he could do about this very real problem. He wanted to know how he could manage and improve these unproductive group dynamics that had such a negative effect on the morale and engagement of the team and inevitably on the business. He was very disappointed that his vision of a team of Corporate Achievers was not working and that now he had to deal with yet another challenge. Continue reading


Be Stress-Free. HelpYour Team Find Focus

Carole Spiers, Gulf News Columnist.  Motivational Speaker

Ahmed is a 30 year old assistant in the cleaning services section of a large hospital and takes great pride in his work. Although he is often told that he is a pedant, he is happy with that description because he is aware that he has high expectations of himself and never leaves a job unfinished. One day, Ahmed was called into his manager’s office to be told that a new employee named Ravi, was to be a new member of his team. His manager fully explained to Ahmed the reasons for the new position and Ravi’s appointment.

However, when Ravi started work, instead of being on time, he was ten minutes late and from therein it went from bad to worse. He appeared to have little pride in what he was doing and did not adhere to the specified cleaning procedures laid down within his own job description. Continue reading


Stress at Work: Managing Office Gossip

Does the phrase ‘I heard it through the grapevine’ sound familiar to you.  How many times do we listen to ‘Chinese whispers’ only to find out that the rumours are completely
unfounded or inaccurate.  Nevertheless, I still wonder if gossip has a place in the workplace.

I read the other day of a company director who decided to sound out the reaction of his team about an impending change management programme, by starting an anonymous rumour to gauge their reaction.  Would they go into denial, get angry, say it was unfair or would they embrace the change. Continue reading


Are You a Team Player?

Working as a team, with all pitching-in together and, most of all, working in harmony are all essential components of a healthy workplace culture. There are very few businesses that can survive without using effective teams in their operation. When deadlines are tight, it is often team-work that gets the project completed on-time and, more importantly, wins the contract.

The Olympic relay races illustrated perfectly how working together as a team can achieve much more than one player going it alone. You know that if you pass your baton to a person capable of a sprint finish, then your team has a better chance of winning. That little bit extra – is the bit which makes the difference between winning and losing.

Good Team Players at Work

Most organisations have teams. The sales team, the production team, the HR team, the customer services team and, of course, the management team. These teams are created to bring strength and to channel energies and creativity into the aims and objectives of the organisation. Most roles in the workplace require us to interact with others – whereas the concept of ‘going it alone’ is really only relevant in very small
businesses where the driving force is just the owner-manager, or the sole professional practitioner.

Good team players will support other members by offering practical help when they need it.  They can offer positive feedback throughout a specific task and especially after a project is completed.  Even if the end result is not as good as it could be, the effective team player will look at the learning that has come from the experience, rather than
apportioning blame upon anyone.

Teams are essentially built upon expertise and individual strengths and in the most effective teams you will often find:

  • Leaders who challenge and motivate the team to give of their best
  • Individual skilled workers necessary for their technical expertise
  • Supervisors who push to get the job done
  • Monitors who review and assess quality
  • Co-ordinators who see that project runs to plan

When teams do not function well, it is usually because of poor communication skills within the team and a lack of clear understanding of individual roles.

Team work can often be challenging, and individuals with a strong character do not always find being a team player, easy. They will have a strong urge to do it their own way and their stubbornness and individuality can sabotage the success of the team effort.

So if you were choosing team members for a project in your organisation, who would the best team players be?

Naturally, we have to assume that they all have the basic technical skills for the work to be done, but what other factors would you need for your team?

So let us now look at some of the necessary qualities of a team player:

  • Reliable and can be counted on to work hard, meet commitments and follow through.
  • Communicates well to express their thoughts and ideas in a clear, concise manner but with respect for the rest of the team.
  • Listens attentively and can absorb information but not take it personally when their suggestion is not always accepted.
  • Good problem-solver who can think creatively and ‘outside of the box’ in a solutions-orientated manner
  • Fully engages with other team players and maybe even volunteers for other assignments.
  • Shares information, knowledge and expertise to keep other team members up to date.
  • Co-operates with others to get the job done and takes the initiative to help.
  • Flexible and adaptive to ever-changing situations and not stressed-out because a new direction may be taken.
  • Committed to his/her job and to the team as a whole and not merely in their own role
  • Respectful and considerate of the rest of the team.

Good team players can usually see beyond their own piece of work and are
able to appreciate the larger picture and vision that is behind the specific
project or objective.  They are pro-active and good motivators of both themselves and others.  They enjoy being a part of the success of their team and of the competitive advantage gained.

Are you one of them?

  • Organisations invariably use efficient teams
  • Teams are cohesive and work is stronger
  • Members support and motivate each other

Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News

Need a Motivational Speaker or Awards Host for your Next Conference or Boardroom briefing? Work Stress Expert, Carole Spiers will deliver a charismatic, high-impact keynote presentation, Show Stress Who’s Boss! based on her new book, at your next conference.  Contact us or call + 44 (0) 20 8954 1593

Carole’s book, Show Stress Who’s Boss! shows you how to deal with stress, manage your stress & anxiety and overcome symptoms of stress.  You’ll find tools and stress management techniques to make your life stress-free.  Inside this book you’ll find 4 proven steps to relive your stress symptoms.  Buy your personally signed copy and receive a FREE stress test card.

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Stress Relief: Wear a smile every day…

According to the lyrics of a popular song, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you, and as I listen to the words being sung on a YouTube video clip, it really brings a smile to my face. However, it also goes on to say “cry and you cry alone!” And that, I’m afraid, is also a truism.

A smile can be a great energy booster both for the giver and the receiver, so why don’t we all smile more often? You may say that you don’t always feel like smiling or that you’re not in the mood, and that may well be the case but just think of the effect of your mood has on those with whom you meet, your spouse, your colleague or your child. Continue reading


Be Stress Free: Think before you press ‘send’!

Last week’s column about cyber-bullying in Gulf News brought a good deal of correspondence from my readers.

One such was from Sonja, a Senior Manager in a pharmaceutical
company, a position that had taken her over 10 years to achieve.  She wrote to me to say that, at her appraisal meeting, she was told that her formal and blunt emailing style needed to be more ‘friendly’.

She argued that the quantity of email that she had to deal with each day, meant that each one had to be dealt with quickly, and with no real time for pleasantries.

Which leaves the question: could formal and blunt email messages be taken by the recipient as a form of cyber bullying? The answer is, ‘No!’. Cyber-bullying is writing with the intent to humiliate an individual by publishing adverse comment about him or her. Continue reading